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Webcast Audience Over 50 Percent of Internet Users

According to a recent study by Arbitron (www.arbitron.com) and Edison Media Research ( www.edisonresearch.com), the percentage of Internet users who have ever tried streaming media is over 50 percent. As of July 2001, more than a third (34 percent or about 78 million people) of all Americans aged 12 and older are classified as "streamies" — people who have ever experienced streaming.

"It is very encouraging to see that consumers are tuning to webcasts in record numbers," said Bill Rose, vice president and general manager, Arbitron Webcast Services. "The continued audience growth should provide confidence in webcasting's great potential despite the inevitable bumps in the road experienced by all new media."

Still, since many terrestrial radio stations have stopped streaming in recent months, Internet-only radio stations have surged in popularity. Arbitron says they are about even in terms of popularity. Internet-only radio has tripled since July 1999, with one-sixth (15 percent) of all Americans having ever tuned into an Internet-only channel. In addition, 12 percent of Internet users say they have listened to Internet-only audio channels and radio station webcasts on a monthly basis.

"Radio stations that stopped streaming may have spurred the growth of Internet-only channels by driving their audience to alternative sources of online audio," said Larry Rosin, president, Edison Media Research. "More than half (55 percent) of the listeners who tuned online to a radio station that later stopped its webcast say they have found other sources of Internet audio to take its place."

Arbitron/Edison Media said they would release their new study next month.

In related news, Nielsen/NetRatings reported that the number of new broadband users soared 121 percent among home users in July 2001 as compared to the same period last year. Surfers using a 56Kbps modem still outnumber broadband surfers, however, growth for modem users has declined significantly over time.

"The number of broadband users, nearly 18 million people, is at its highest point ever," said T.S. Kelly, director and principal analyst at NetRatings. "Streaming media is a major driver behind broadband adoption. The movie-on-demand offering, Moviefly, by the major movie studios is an excellent example of the next generation of technology-enabled entertainment."

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