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Apple Streaming Media Players Target Microsoft - European Broadband Grows 20% to 110.5 Million Connections - US Broadband Growth Slows to 59% Penetration - March 2009 Bandwidth Report

Summary: The popularity of Apple's iTunes and QuickTime players has grown from 32% to 36.4% over the past year, while Microsoft's Windows Media Player has remained unchanged at 50.7% share. Broadband lines grew by 20% in Europe over the past year, while growth slowed in the US to 59% broadband penetration.

The popularity of Apple's streaming media players is rapidly approaching Microsoft's. According to a recent survey of streaming media usage, the market share of Apple's iTunes and QuickTime players grew from 32% in January 2008 to 36.4% in January 2009, while Microsoft's Media Player was unchanged at 50.7%. Most of this gain was due to the increasing popularity of iTunes. Meanwhile broadband lines grew by 20% to 110.5 million lines in Europe over the past year. In the US, broadband growth slowed to its lowest level in seven years, while penetration crept up to 59% overall.

Apple iTunes Popularity Grows

The market share of Apple's iTunes player has grown from 23.6% in January 2008 to 27.8% in January 2009. Combined with QuickTime usage, the popularity of Apple's streaming media players has grown from 47,800,000 users (32% share) to 58,596,000 users (36.4% share) from January 2008 to January 2009, while Microsoft's share was flat at 50.7% during the same time period (see Table 1). If the current growth trends continue, Apple should pass Microsoft by the first quarter of 2012 in streaming media player popularity (see Figure 1).

Streaming Media Player Growth 2009

Figure 1: Streaming Media Player Growth in Unique Users - January 2009
Source: Nielsen Online

Table 1: Streaming Media Player Growth in Unique Users (thousands)
Month iTunes Apple QuickTime iTunes+QuickTime RealPlayer Windows Media Player
Jan-04 1,118 15,45816,576 28,593 51,056
Jan-05 5,370 13,13618,506 28,182 60,782
Jan-06 18,568 12,81731,385 28,687 71,112
Jan-07 27,396 13,93441,330 31,309 72,510
Jan-08 35,269 (23.6%) 12,53147,800 (32%) 25,800 75,810 (50.7%)
Jan-09 44,764 (27.8%) 13,83258,596 (36.4%) 20,709 81,795 (50.7%)

European Broadband Grows 20% to 110.5 Million Connections

Broadband usage in Europe grew by 20 percent over the year to a total of 110.5 million connections, according to The European Competitive Telecommunications Association's (ECTA) twice-yearly Broadband Scorecard survey (see Figure 2). The Scorecard tracks the progress of broadband penetration and local loop unbundling in the 25 member states of the European Union.

European Country Broadband Penetration Growth Trend Graph

Figure 2: Broadband Penetration Growth in Europe - to October 2008
Source: ECTA

Denmark continues to lead the EU with 37.5% of its population on broadband, followed by the Netherlands at 36.3%, Sweden at 31%, Finland at 30.8%, Luxembourg at 28.2%, and the UK at 28.1% (see Figure 3). All of these countries were well above the average EU broadband penetration rate of 22.4%. Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Poland trailed the field with broadband penetration rates in the 10 percent range.

European Country Broadband Penetration Rates, September 2008

Figure 3: European Country Broadband Penetration Rates - September 2008
Source: ECTA

In terms of raw broadband line growth, however, Bulgaria leads the field with a growth rate of 206.5% over the past half year (over 410% year over year). The Czech Republic follows at 180.2% line growth, followed by Romania at 136.4%, Cyprus at 47.6%, Greece at 25.4%, and Poland at 20.9% (see Figure 4). Two countries had negative growth over the past half year, Portugal and Hungary.

European Broadband Line Growth  - Half Year

Figure 4: European Broadband Line Growth - Half Year
Source: ECTA

Further Reading

5.4 Million Added Broadband from Top Cable and Telephone Companies in 2008
Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG) found that the twenty largest cable and telephone providers in the US - representing about 94% of the market - acquired over 5.4 million net additional high-speed Internet subscribers in 2008, the fewest in the seven years that LRG has tracked the broadband industry. 59% of households now have a broadband connection. Leichtman Research Group, March, 6, 2009.
Supplied the European broadband trend data for the Bandwidth Report.
Nielsen Online
Provided the streaming media player usage data for the Bandwidth Report.

By website optimization on 13 Mar 2009 AM

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