Haven't seen any stats on the number of podcasts recently and was pleasantly suprised to see a podcaster (Victor Cjiao of typicalmacuser.com) went through and totaled up all the numbers in the iTunes podcast directory.
82,978 podcasts and counting
According to Victor that's a ten-fold increase since apple started the directory just over a year ago.
What with all the great podcasting platforms like Odeo, Hipcast, Vimeo, Blip.tv and dozens of directories and platforms like Mefeedia the iTunes directory certainly doesn't contain everything. (In fact i'm sure it has but a small fraction of the total number of video and audio podcast feeds.) However it's a good indicator of how big podcasting has grown and how fast it's growing.
So why is it so important that there are 82,978 podcasters in the iTunes Podcast directory?
Because Apple sent out a cease and decist against Podcast Ready claiming their name infringed on Apple's trademarks. This implies that Apple believes that any name containing "podcast" might infringe on their trademarks and it has got many of those 82,978 podcasters blood boiling.
According to Russell Shaw over at ZDNet this is not simply a case of trademark protectionism gone mad.
According to him it appears Apple is attempting to do a trademark land grab not only around the term "pod", as was previously known, but now also the term "ipodcast".
Now there's virtually no chance Apple will succeed in maintaing total control over the user of "pod" and especially "podcast" in this space but they sure hasn't stopped them from trying and they sure are pissing a lot of people (and businesses) off.
The ZDnet article: » EXCLUSIVE: Apple Trademark Office docs point to REAL reasons for" Podcast" controversy | IP Telephony, VoIP, Broadband | ZDNet.com
Thanks Victor for the info.