New research claims the podcasting phenomenon to be headed for massive growth in the coming years.

Analysts at The Diffusion Group believe US demand for podcasts will grow from "less than 15 per cent" of portable digital music player owners today to "75 per cent by 2010".

The new report, "Podcasting: Fact, Fiction and Opportunity", suggests that between 2004 and 2010, the use of podcasting among US consumers will enjoy a compound annual growth rate of 101 per cent.

Marc Freedman, contributing analyst observed: "(Podcasting) has taken on very general precepts, thus indicative of its status as a service category as opposed to a branded activity."

There's gold in them there 'Pods

He observed that the Apple-inspired explosion in use of digital music services helped users grow familiar with taking material from a computer to a digital device; setting the landscape for widespread acceptance of podcasting, which began as a non-commercial experiment. The commercial status is changing, he notes.

"Podcasting's non-commercial status is changing as more businesses begin to find creative ways to use this new delivery medium to push audio content," he said.