Researchers have found that 29 per cent of North American adults with digital music players have downloaded podcasts from the Internet.

Since more than 22 million American adults own iPods or MP3 players, this means that six million adults have listened to a podcast, according to The Pew Internet & American Life Project.

The survey found that almost half of the digital-music player owners that are younger than 29 have listened to podcasts while only 20 per cent of those older than 29 had done so.

Guys and girls share podcast enthusiasm

The survey found no differences between men and women, or broadband and dial-up users. The report notes: "Some 33 per cent of the owners of iPods/MP3 players who have broadband at home have downloaded podcasts and 28 per cent of those who have dial-up at home have done so. This is not a statistically significant difference."

Podcasts are audio files that can be downloaded from the Web onto a computer and transferred to an audio player. They range from radio-style music broadcasts to audio magazines, and even blog-style monologs. The survey did not attempt to discover what sort of podcasts people consume.

According to the survey, the age break down of iPod/MP3 owners is: One in five (19 per cent) of 18-28 year-olds; 14 per cent of 29-40 year-olds, 11 per cent of 41-50 year-olds, 6 per cent of 51-59, 6 per cent of 60-69 and 1 per cent of those over 70.

The survey also found that ethnic minorities are more likely to own iPods or MP3 players than whites. Some 16 per cent of African-Americans and English-speaking Latinos own iPods/MP3 players, compared to 9 per cent of non-Latino whites, notes the report.