Last week I mentioned a study showing great business interest in technical podcasts and webcasts. This week there is a new study available from Nielsen/NetRatings on the demographics of podcast listeners and it's rather interesting.
I like the summary that Jason Lee Miller put together for WebProNews. He looks at the usage statistics for the average podcast listener and finishes with the provocative statement (sure to be good for generating comments) that "for now, your podcast target is the geeky, hipster, upwardly mobile dotcom type who likes decent shoes for mountain biking and tennis, when he's not debating Kirk versus Picard."
Without the hyperbole, we see that when looking at a statistical sample of all available podcast consumption (which includes an AWFUL lot of non-business material), the listeners skew relatively young, visit hip portals to find their material, and use Safari and Firefox more than Internet Explorer as their browser of choice. That suggests to me a lot of college students and recent grads using their Macintosh computers to listen to entertainment and opinion podcasts.
I have not seen a comparable survey of audience demographics for webinar listeners. The material tends to be much more business related rather than entertainment related. My intuition tells me it is more geared towards the Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer crowd (many web conferencing vendors still offer full support only on Windows operating systems). And I'll bet the age demographic shifts a bit older.
There is a big cause and effect question here that I don't have the data to answer. But my take on the matter is that if you are attempting to reach an enterprise business audience, especially people with enough seniority to be decision makers, the time is not yet ripe for throwing away webinars in favor of podcasts. Fortunately you don't have to pick an either/or approach. I'd love to hear anecdotal evidence or hard marketing figures from companies using both broadcast channels on who they are reaching.