Schedules: A thing of the past thanks to podcasts?

With four of iTunes Top 20 podcasts in Canada coming from CBC's programming earlier this week, CBC has put out a call for sponsors on all but one of its podcasts.

Tailored audio messages with online banner ad tie-ins are now available for all but one of‘s 22 podcasts, according to CBC director international business development Judy McAlpine, who put out the call for sponsors to about 115 marketers, advertisers and media buyers at a Nov. 7 breakfast seminar held by AOL Canada, and in Toronto.

McAlpine says 10-second audio messages at the start of every podcast, along with banner ads at, can be packaged for sponsors. The podcasts consist of downloadable versions of CBC Radio programs, along with extra features such as Editor’s Choice, behind-the-scenes and extended content from Sounds Like Canada and Words At Large. Between May and Oct. 2006, the CBC recorded five million downloads. McAlpine says the current download rate sits at about 140,000 per week (for the 21 podcasts available to sponsors), and an iTunes report this week pegged four of the Top 20 podcasts in Canada as content.

One media buyer attending the seminar expressed frustration concerning the metrics of the medium, arguing that download numbers are not indicative of a podcast’s actual audience. He says he only listens to 30% of the podcasts he actually subscribes to and downloads.

The CBC’s podcasting strategy follows a major expansion of its podcast offerings in May 2006. The move was based on a survey of 10,000-plus users and listeners, regarding online and podcast downloading behaviour. That survey showed 77% of podcast listeners to be male, 66% to be between the ages of 18 and 39, and 65% to be working full-time. About 69% of those sampled spend more than 10 hours or more using the Internet, 40% spend more than 20 hours, and 96% do so with a broadband connection to the Internet. About 43% of them are listening to podcasts, and one-third of those who listen do so for more than three hours a week. Surprisingly, McAlpine says, most podcast listeners are not listening during a commute, although that day period is a strong second. About 76% of those surveyed indicated they listened to podcasts at home, in the evening, at a time that most suited them.