Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Web 2.0 datapoints

This blog has been seriously neglected while I have been dealing with a very intense Q2 reporting season. Must try harder in future.

The ever-industrious folks at have come up with a couple of more interesting research pieces, which will no doubt be of interest to non-Japanese speakers.

First podcasting. Out of the 1,046 people interviewed, 47% claimed to have some familiarity with podcasts (this is up from last year), and nearly 10% had either listened to or produced one. Of this group of 103 podcast users, 68% responded that they listened to content from radio stations or other mainstream media, but 32% responded that they listened to independent content created by individuals. Just under 8% said that they had some experience of producing a podcast. The article almost turns apologetic in tone at this point, citing this c.8% figure as low, but what proportion of the public has ever had experience producing a TV or radio broadcast? I think 8% is actually pretty high. Interestingly, though I guess, I at least, tend to think of podcasts as being portable media, the Japan survey shows that 70% of listening occurs at home. The author also cites apparently sluggish podcast adoption figures in the US, and asks whether podcasting in Japan is "hot or not." The survey shows that 29.3% of respondents said they felt podcasting was becoming more popular, but 28.9% said they felt it wasn't.

Secondly, they attempted to discern how deeply Web 2.0 usage habits have penetrated mainstream internet use in Japan. While a previous survey conducted in May showed that 10% of web users are familiar with social bookmarking, and nearly 4% of respondents claimed to have used it, this survey found that 94% of users still rely on the "Favorites" tab on the browser, and only 0.3% of respondents claimed to use social bookmarking as their primary bookmarking tool. The researchers also attempted to ascertain just how broad web usage is. Asked how many sites they check on a regular basis, two-thirds said between two and five, with only 12% replying "11 or more." Most shocking to proponents and fans of RSS (myself among them), while previous research showed that as much as 17% of web users had some experience with an RSS newsreader, in this survey only 0.6% of respondents claimed to use one as their primary method of monitoring favorite sites, vs. 94% who use the bookmarks saved in the browser.

Back to the UK to wrap up, my friend Neil Fairbrother over at pinged me yesterday with some pretty amazing stats. Check out his account here.