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Apple Bites into Microsoft's Streaming Media Lead - US Broadband Penetration Grows to 95.3% Among Active Internet Users - March 2010 Bandwidth Report

Summary: Who will get the biggest piece of the streaming media pie? By sometime next year it could very well be Apple.

Who will get the biggest piece of the streaming media pie? By sometime next year it could very well be Apple. Driven primarily by the rapid growth in iTunes, Apple's players are becoming more popular, while Microsoft and RealPlayer are losing market share (see Figure 1). Meanwhile, broadband penetration among active Internet users grew slightly to 95.33% in February 2010.

Streaming Media Player Trends to March 2010

Figure 1: Streaming Media Player Trends - Unique Users (000)
Source: Nielsen

Streaming Media Player Trends

Since last year's streaming media player roundup the gap between Apple and Microsoft has narrowed by 3.8 percentage points, from 14.3 to 10.5 percentage points from January 2009 to January 2010 (see Table 1). Microsoft's share of the streaming media market dropped from 50.7% in January 2009 to 47.1% a year later in January 2010. Meanwhile Apple's combined share (unique iTunes and QuickTime users) rose from 36.4 to 36.6% share during the same period, narrowing the gap from 14.3 percentage points separating the two top players, to 10.5 percentage points as of January 2010. At current growth rates Apple should pass Microsoft for the streaming media crown sometime in 2011. Apple's QuickTime passed RealPlayer around June 2009, near the time that The Nielsen Company enhanced their survey methodology.

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%)
Jan-10 48,848 (29.8%) 20,11859,944 (36.6%) 17,617 77,065 (47.1%)

Home Connectivity in the US

US broadband penetration grew to 95.33% among active Internet users in February 2010. Dial-up users connecting at 56Kbps or less now make up 4.67% of active Internet users (see Figure 2).

Web Connection Speed Trends March 2010 - U.S. home users

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

Broadband Growth Trends in the US

In February 2010, broadband penetration among active Internet users in US homes grew to 95.33%, up 0.22 percentage points fron 95.11% in January (see Figure 3).

Broadband Penetration Growth Trend - February 2010 - U.S. home users

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

Work Connectivity

As of February 2010, 98.57% of US workers connected to the Internet with broadband, up 0.08 percentage points from 98.49% in January 2010. Only 1.43% still connect at 56Kbps or less from work (see Figure 4).

Web Connection Speed Trends - February 2010 - U.S. work users

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

Further Reading

Nielsen
Provided the US broadband penetration data for active Internet users as well as the streaming media data for the Bandwidth Report.

By website optimization on 31 Mar 2010 PM

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