one million subscriptions in the first 48 hours, iTunes 4.9 has already proved it’s the new heavy-hitter in the league. And all those subscribers have translated into a massive surge in traffic for podcasters.
Los Angeles area public radio station
KCRW has been podcasting 22 of its shows since March, and was already experiencing rapid growth. KCRW started the month of June with 75,000 downloads per week. That number had already increased to 108,000 in the week before the iTunes 4.9 launch. But following the release, KCRW
reported a “tenfold” increase in traffic.
“With the launch of iTunes 4.9 on Tuesday, podcasts of KCRW programs increased tenfold, from a previous daily average of 10,000 to 100,000. In fact,” says KCRW Management Consultant, Will Lewis, “Our webmaster had to switch us over to a much bigger server because of the stratospheric increase in traffic.”
Across the coast, New York public radio station and podcaster
WNYC was reporting similar growth.
“It’s been very dramatic. We have four shows up, and for one show alone [On the Media] we had a 185 percent increase within a day,” WNYC spokesperson Jennifer Houlihan told Playlist. “That’s just for the first day. I’m sure it’s increased since then as well.”
Disney and ESPN both launched podcasts coinciding with the launch of iTunes 4.9. Since the company just began its podcasting efforts, it can’t quantify what effect iTunes has had, but notes it is generally satisfied with the results.
“We didn’t have any core expectations since this is a new area,” Disney spokesperson Brandy Phillips told Playlist. “But we have definitely been pleased.”
The indies were feeling that traffic as well. Feedburner reported a
fifty percent increase in traffic across its top 200 podcasts.
Cinecast, a film-oriented podcast from Chicago featuring reviews and commentary on the movies, is featured on the iTunes Music Store’s podcasting front page, and is one of the top-20 downloads. The show’s producers noted a drastic surge in downloads.
“On Monday at 1 p.m. [Central time], our Batman show [Cinecast episode #18] had been downloaded 1,086 times, which has been about average for our shows lately after one week,” Cinecast’s Adam Kempenaar reported to Playlist via email. “On Tuesday at 1 pm, it had been downloaded 2,208 times. [Episode #19], which was just posted Sunday morning, was at 332 on Monday at 1 p.m. On Tuesday it was 1,356. A pretty dramatic difference, I’d say.”
Mathew Honan is a San Francisco-based writer and photographer. His work has also appeared in Macworld, Wired, Time, and Salon.
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