Podcasts get ratings

Nielsen released a report today on the economics of podcasting with some juicy stats to add to yesterday’s Pew numbers (here’s a only I to a PDF of the press release):

* 6 percent of U.S. adults — 9 million people — have downloaded podcasts in the last 30 days. The same number call themselves regular podcast listeners.
* More than 75 percent of them are male.
* 38 percent of active podcast listeners told Nielsen that they are listening to radio less often.
* The most successful podcasts, Nielsen says, are get two million downloads a month. (I’m curious to hear the stats for Diggnation and other big ones.)
* 60 percent said they always fast-forward past commercials.
* 72 percent of regular downloaders get one to three podcasts a week; heavy users — 10 percent of them — take eight or more.

Nielsen also said it is going to launch an iPod panel with 400 users. That’s good. But I’ll caution that you can’t measure the mass of niches that way you could measure the masses; a sample won’t get the — pardon me — long tail. Still, in a new medium, data is good because it makes the medium real.