Web statistics firm Nielsen/NetRatings will next month begin to use new counting methods that are expected to greatly increase QuickTime’s reported market share, according to a new article on
penned by Stephanie Olsen.
Digital media market share reports have pegged QuickTime at also-ran status compared to offerings from Microsoft and Real Networks, so the news vindicates long running criticism from Apple executives
who have openly questioned
the accuracy of such reports in the past. Earlier this year Apple claimed the number of
new QuickTime downloads
surpassed RealPlayer, inciting a strident denial from Real in the process.
An analyst with Nielsen/NetRatings admitted to Olsen that the company needed to change the way it measures streaming media client usage on the Internet in a way “that more accurately reflects” the true state of the market. While the analyst refused to give specific numbers, Olsen said that one source suggested it may be as high as a fourfold increase.
Nielsen/NetRatings stopped publishing such statistics back in January after Apple took issue with the company’s methods, which tended to overcount the usage of Real Networks’ RealPlayer software. Apple has similar complaints with another large Web statistics company, Media Metrix, which fails to account for files accessed from players embedded in Web pages or evoked using Web browser plug-ins. Given the popularity of QuickTime as a delivery method for motion picture trailers on Web pages, a change in the way access to such content is measured could lead to significant changes in the perception of QuickTime as a viable standard.
“They’re counting wrong,” Apple director of QuickTime product marketing Frank Casanova told MacCentral this past February. “It’s so wrong [that some of them] stopped issuing the reports. The companies agreed with us.”
Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller told Olsen that such statistics firms also discount the use of open standards.
“At Apple we have been promoting that people use open standards more and more, but those standards often are the things not counted in these market records. The more you dig into anybody’s counting the more you find limitations in what they count,” said Schiller.