A press release offered last week from Apple citing QuickTime’s dominance in new users over RealNetworks’ RealPlayer software quickly raised some eyebrows, including the folks at RealNetworks. Apple’s comments even provoked RealNetworks to make a statement of its own refuting Apple’s claims. Recently Apple’s director of QuickTime Product Marketing, Frank Casanova, found time to answer some questions for MacCentral about how, why and where QuickTime is being used.
First of all, Casanova stands behind the number purported by Apple last week. The company said that last year, more new users added QuickTime 5 to their systems than RealNetworks’ RealOne and RealPlayer technologies.
“We’re not double or triple-counting users who download separate upgrades in any way,” said Casanova. “The application itself maintains the upgrade relationship.”
Apple said that translated into 80 million new users, about 5 million more than Real handled. “And by the time QuickTime 5 is a year old, we’re going to hit 100 million,” Casanova assured MacCentral.
Real responded by saying that its total number of unique users is 250 million. “Since QuickTime 4.0 was released, our user base has grown well in excess of 250 million,” stated Casanova.
Casanova doesn’t see it as just competition between Apple and Real. “Many of the same people use RealNetworks’ software and QuickTime,” said Casanova. “We share a lot of the same customers.”
In a statement to MacCentral, RealNetworks said its content is used by four times as many users as QuickTime. “In the latest data available from Nielson//NetRatings[sic], there were 32.0 million US home users of RealNetworks content in December and 7.4 million users of [QuickTime] that same month,” said the company.
“We compared those reports too,” said Casanova — referring not only to Nielsen//NetRatings but also to other services that determine media usage on the Internet. “They’re counting wrong. It’s so wrong [that some of them] stopped issuing the reports. The companies agreed with us.”
Casanova explained that there are various irregularities in the way such services monitor and measure media usage online. “One of the companies wasn’t counting any QuickTime content embedded in Web pages,” Casanova explained. QuickTime can be played back directly within a Web page using the QuickTime Web browser plug-in.
“There’s a variety of methodologies in their counting tactics,” said Casanova, who added that Apple is working with media measurement companies to make sure that their analysis is more accurate in the future.
“Apple’s press release wasn’t meant to knock down any of Real’s accomplishments,” said Casanova. “They’re doing very well and they’re seen as an industry leader. We’re doing at least as well, and a little bit better.”
Casanova explained that QuickTime’s usage isn’t just limited to streaming media on the Web, although that’s how many users have first come to know of it. The technology also ships on board dozens of digital cameras, for example.
Unlike some of QuickTime’s competition in the Web space, the technology’s capabilities go far beyond just the Internet.
“161 digital cameras support QuickTime,” said Casanova. Casanova also added that more than a dozen software titles a day ship with QuickTime on-board.
“A discussion about QuickTime as an online media player just scratches the surface of what this technology can do,” he concluded.