Podcasts popular with Trekkies, Mac users

People who download podcasts share a distinct personality, according to an ongoing study of online behavior.

Candace Lombardi
In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet, Silicon.com, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.
Candace Lombardi
2 min read
To whom should you be targeting your podcasts? Apple Computer users, Trekkies and maybe Nike lovers, according to a new survey.

Macworld is the No. 1 most-visited content site by people who download audio podcasts, according to media research group Nielsen/NetRatings, while StarTrek.com is the most visited content site among video podcast downloaders.

The report (click for PDF) is based on an ongoing survey conducted from 2005 to the present, according to a spokeswoman for the company. The survey asks actively online U.S. adults to answer questions about their behavior "within the last 30 days."

Among those surveyed, 51.6 percent said they paid bills online, and 24.6 percent participated in online job hunting. E-mailing is still the most popular online activity at 92.7 percent, with news reading (71.5 percent) and weather checking (63.9 percent) in second and third place, respectively. Compared with those statistics, downloading podcasts is still a relatively unpopular activity.

Overall, 6.6 percent of adults said they had downloaded audio podcasts within the last 30 days, and 4 percent had downloaded video podcasts. Since the question has only been recently added to the survey, according to the Nielsen/NetRatings spokeswoman, there is no data available for 2004 to allow for a growth comparison. (Blogging came in even lower at 4.8 percent.)

"We can expect to see (podcast downloading) become increasingly popular as portable content media players proliferate," said Michael Lanz, a Nielsen/NetRatings analyst.

Internet users in the 18-to-24 age group are twice as likely to download audio podcasts than the average online adult. When it comes to video podcasts, however, the 25-to-34 age group downloads the most, and follow a close second for audio downloads, the report said.

The majority of people who download audio or video podcasts use Safari, hinting that Apple users may download the most podcasts. Firefox came in second overall. Internet Explorer came in a distant third among audio podcast downloaders, and AOL was third among video podcast downloaders.

Audio downloaders also seem to be interested in sneakers. According to the report, the No. 1 e-commerce site among audio downloaders was Niketown.com, not a music-downloading site as one might expect. (The site is Nike's official online store, not a Web site affiliated with the Nike+iPod playlists.) In fact, iTunes came in third. Apple's Web site was second.

The statistic is particularly interesting given the recent Nike+iPod sneaker launch. But is the coincidence a cause or an effect?