Podcasting may only attract a small percentage of U.S. adults, but the emerging medium has already begun to attract several mainstream advertisers. According to The Economics of Podcasting, a report released Thursday by Nielsen Analytics, part of VNU’s media measurement and information group, the most successful podcasts garner as many as two million downloads a month, drawing advertisers such as Dixie Paper Company, which sponsors the Mommycast Podcast Series. Other podcast advertisers are Sony Pictures, Shell Oil, Earthlink, Warner Bros., HP, HBO and GoDaddy.

More than 6% of U.S. adults, about 9 million Web users, have downloaded podcasts in the past 30 days, the report concluded, echoing estimates released last week by Nielsen/NetRatings. Most of podcast users are male, more than 75%. A significant portion, about 38%, said they are listening to radio less often as a result. Those that regularly download podcasts, download an average of one to three podcasts each week.

But to reach those podcast-lovers, advertisers will have to be creative with their advertising, beyond the traditional ad inserted in between content. About 60% of respondents surveyed said they always fast forward through commercials. As a result, advertisers are embedding their messages within the program content or using endorsements from podcast hosts, a popular advertising form in traditional radio.

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