Editor’s Note: Since the initial posting of this story, MacCentral has received numerous e-mails bringing to light what some believe to be a ‘skewed’ report by Media Metrix that only measures application usage and not browser-embedded content. As a result and in an effort of fairness, MacCentral has amended this article to reflect further balance.
With media players and streaming-media players now installed on 99 percent of home PCs in the U.S., a new study shows 28 percent of users used RealPlayer in November of last year, 22 percent used Windows Media Player and four percent used QuickTime.
The report, released Monday by Internet and digital media measuring company Media Metrix, shows usage (both PC and Mac) of media-player applications is nearing 50 percent, but growth flattened in 2000 to 47 percent. The 47 percent figure includes usage of RealPlayer, Windows Media Player, QuickTime, Winamp, RealJukebox, MusicMatch, Jukebox, Sonique, Liquid, Player, Netshow, Spinner Plus, Radio Wave, Napster, Scour and Gnutella (and all its derivations).
“To close the gap between what people can do and what they actually do, the industry must continue to develop content and better delivery systems that encourage users to take advantage of the digital and audio capabilities they have,” said Steve Coffey, executive vice president, of Media Metrix.
In the streaming-media category, RealNetworks’ RealPlayer maintains the largest share of users with 28 percent. Microsoft’s Windows Media Player (versions 6 and 7) continues to narrow the gap with Real has it maintained its 22 percent share, which it has had for the past two reporting periods of October and November, 2000. Windows Media Player has slowly increased its share from 17 percent since June of last year.
Apple’s QuickTime version 4.0 media/streaming media player remains in third place with four percent usage. QT maintained three percent usage from January to May, increasing to four percent in June 2000.
The findings are considered to be some of the most accurate in the industry, as Media Metrix uses diagnostic software installed on all surveyed PCs (Windows-based and Macintosh) which monitors usage, applications installed and standard configurations of each computer.
Some have criticized the Media Metrix streaming media report as not being indicative of the real state of usage, saying the report only measures application usage, not browser-embedded content. Critics of the report say “most” RealMedia content is delivered through its stand-alone application, while most QT content is embedded, thus skewing the results against QuickTime.