Serialized audio books have been a savior for me lately. They are short form and for the most part free. I have found a few series on www.podiobooks.com. They are free, but (at least from my perspective) if the podcast series is good, I feel the need to give what I can to help support them. While, I understand that many people wouldn't give that contribution. It is my hope that enough would feel obligated to give money to an author that produces a good work; especially when it is these authors that provide a spark to the market. They give variety and a fresh new look to a market that seems to be lacking and has plenty of holes in the release dates. It seems that my problem used to be that I was always waiting for the next release. Serialized books in any form tend to provide an answer to that in some ways.
What are the advantages to podcasted fiction? While audio quality and reading shouldn't be skimped on, for the most part the process is relatively cheap (if you can do it on your own). I personally would need plenty of practice before I would feel comfortable releasing audio. Also, releasing in serialized form gives a potential audience a taste and (if the story is good) puts them on the edge of their seat waiting for the next release. As long as you have the time (which is the largest required resource), podcasting really does have the potential to gather a following to support you and all of your works. I haven't started podcasting any of my stories yet. I don't have enough short stories in a series to make a podcast worth it yet, and I have heard that doing the podcasts before a series is completed is a good way to leave readers/listeners hanging and a bit jaded if you don't finish.
I hope this provides a bit of short form information about podcasts and their importance. If this is up your alley, grab a microphone and get to narrating!!!