Welcome to the first of many posts regarding my Online Audio Drama Listener Survey. We had 77 responses overall and I’d like to thank everyone who took time to participate, and also to help share the survey link with others. Over the next few weeks we’ll take a closer look at some of the results. I don’t yet have access to the individual response statistics where we will be able to examine some age/gender patterns in detail – hopefully that will change by mid-next week.
From looking at the graph above, Question 6 in the survey, we can see that 35% of respondents are still downloading audio drama and syncing shows to the iPod or MP3 player. With Smartphone listening (presumably streaming more than downloading) at 40% this was much closer than I had expected. With the rise of Smartphone technology, and directories/apps like Stitcher I had the impression that the podcast community was beginning to regard downloading on to a device as a bit antiquated, and we’re now seeing much more focus on directory artwork (where every week now it seems that they are trying to outdo each other with their imagine size requirements – we’ll soon need to go to the cinema to listen to an MP3 if it gets any worse) than metadata and ID3 tags.
Is this a trend purely within audio drama, or does it extend to podcasting on a whole? That is difficult to say. Certainly many podcasts will be listened to more passively than audio fiction, where you need to be following all that is going on or risk losing the story. Some people have replaced their radio with podcasts in recent years, and maintain the habit of having shows on ‘in the background’ whilst tuning in and out of the conversation, is it likely that these listeners are happy enough to stream content rather than download it? Perhaps the lack of audio drama (a drop in the ocean compared to the number of podcasts out there) encourages fans to download as they will probably listen to their favourite shows twice or more.
It seems obvious that downloading will die out in the future, but rumours of its death at this stage seem great exaggerated.