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iTunes Player Hits a High Note, Passes RealPlayer - US Broadband Penetration Increases to 86.79% Among Active Internet Users - January 2008 Bandwidth Report

Summary: Apple's iTunes player passed RealPlayer in 2007 to become the second most popular streaming media player on the Internet. Growing at an annual rate of 26.8% iTunes hit a high note while the rest of the band was flat.

As predicted, iTunes passed Realplayer in unique users near mid-2007. The higher growth rate of iTunes propelled it past RealPlayer for the first time in April of 2007. Among the four major streaming media players, only iTunes had a positive growth rate over the past year. Among active Internet users in the US, broadband increased to 86.8% in December 2007.

iTunes Passes RealPlayer in Unique Users

Apple's iTunes player passed RealPlayer in unique users in 2007 (see Figure 1). iTunes is the only player to show a positive growth rate over the past year, growing by 26.8% from Dec. 2006 to Dec. 2007 (see Table 1). QuickTime usage fell 8.6%, RealPlayer fell 17.5%, and Windows Media Player was essentially flat over the past year. Note that the growth trend lines show a more accurate picture without the monthly fluctuations. Both QuickTime and RealPlayer were essentially flat, while Windows Media Player grew slightly. Only iTunes showed a significant positive growth rate.

streaming media player growth

Figure 1: Streaming Media Player Growth
Source: Nielsen Online

Table 1: Streaming Media Player Growth in Unique Users (thousands)
Month iTunes Apple QuickTime RealPlayer Windows Media Player
Dec-03 669 13,627 28,652 49,023
Dec-04 4,735 12,720 28,808 60,292
Dec-05 17,905 13,638 30,313 72,409
Dec-06 28,134 13,987 33,408 75,923
Dec-07 35,664 12,787 27,565 75,865

Home Connectivity in the US

US broadband penetration grew to 86.79% among active Internet users in December 2007. Narrowband users connecting at 56Kbps or less now make up 13.21% of active Internet users, down 0.50 percentage points from 13.71% in November 2007 (see Figure 2).

Web Connection Speed Trends December 2007 - U.S. home users

Figure 2: Web Connection Speed Trends - Home Users (US)
Source: Nielsen Online

Broadband Growth Trends in the US

In December 2007, broadband penetration in US homes grew 0.5 percentage points to 86.79% up from 86.29% in November. This increase of 0.5 points is below the average increase in broadband of 0.68 points per month over the last six months (see Figure 3). At current growth rates, broadband penetration among active Internet users will break 90 percent by May 2008.

Broadband Adoption Growth Trend - December 2007 - U.S. home users

Figure 3. Broadband Adoption Growth Trend - Home Users (US)
Extrapolated from Nielsen Online data

Work Connectivity

As of December 2007, 94.99% of US workers connected to the Internet with broadband, up 0.16 percentage points from the 94.83% share in November. At work 5.01% connect at 56Kbps or less (see Figure 4).

Web Connection Speed Trends - December 2007 - U.S. work users

Figure 4: Web Connection Speed Trends - Work Users (US)
Source: Nielsen Online

Further Reading

iTunes Popularity to Surpass RealPlayer
Unique iTunes users will exceed RealPlayer users by the first half of 2007, according to projections by Website Optimization. European broadband penetration growth is slowing as the US approaches 80% penetration among active Internet users.
Nielsen Online
Provided the US broadband penetration data for active Internet users for the Bandwidth Report.

By website optimization on 18 Jan 2008 AM

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