A recent Pew Internet Life survey reports that the number of people who have downloaded podcasts for later listening has risen to 12%. That figure is up from 7% earlier this year. While the report also shows that only 1% download podcasts on a daily basis that shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Many podcasts don’t even produce episodes daily. While 12% may not seem like much, with 600 million current U.S. Internet users, that amounts to approximately 72 million users. That is certainly nothing to sneeze at!
The report also states that the number of podcasts available to Internet users has exploded in the last two years. In 2004, Podcast Alley, a popular podcast directory website listed fewer than 1000 podcasts available for download. That same directory now lists over 26,000 different podcasts, representing over 1 million episodes in November of 2006.
Churches need to consider how they can use this tool to tap into a wider audience for delivering audio files online. The Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver currently podcasts chapel sermons and presentations through the BVBID Chapelcast. You can subscribe free to this podcast through Apple’s iTunes (also free) or get more information from the Institute’s website. The Bear Valley church of Christ Sermoncast is just beginning to podcasts their sermons and some Bible classes and the Parker church of Christ in Parker, CO. has a good selection of episodes available as well. You can find others through the iTunes Store within the iTunes software. Remember that subscribing to these podcasts is absolutely FREE!