Up until now, the audience for podcasts has been a silent mob, sitting quietly in a darkened theater where advertisers couldnt count their numbers.
Audible Inc. has plans to change that, announcing on Friday the first set of tools to accurately measure discrete users of podcasting services.
Audible is an online provider of downloadable, spoken-word audio. The company, based in Wayne, N.J., offers audio editions of books, newspapers, magazines, radio programs and original shows. Audible currently offers some 70,000 hours of spoken audio programming from more than 250 different providers.
Its newly unveiled set of Web-based tools, called AudibleWordcast, is the first to measure actual subscribers, as opposed to just measuring file downloads.
Audible is now keeping Wordcast sequestered in a private beta, although the company gave public demonstrations at the Portable Media Expo in Ontario, Calif., on Friday and Saturday.
According to Audibles press release, the metrics produced by the tool set have been deemed audit-ready by the third-party media auditor ImServices Group.
The AudibleWordcast podcasting platform will work on the Apple iPod as well as on 160 other devices that run Audibles .aa file format—a format second only in popularity to mp3, according to Audible.
Such a tool will be greeted warmly by advertisers.