Streaming Media Use Grows to New High

Streaming media consumption reached an all-time high in November 2000, with 35 million Web users at home accessing streaming content, a 65 percent increase from 21 million during the same month last year, according to Nielsen-NetRatings.

Thirty-six percent of all Web surfers accessed some form of streaming media in November 2000, as compared to 28 percent during the same time last year. Much of the growth in streaming media usage has been supported by high-profile events.

“Streaming consumption is closely linked to huge media events,” said T.S. Kelly, director of Internet Media Strategies at NetRatings. “Events such as the Super Bowl, Olympics and Election 2000 significantly contributed to the increased use of streamed audio and video content. Historically, branding opportunities have been limited to high profile events in television, radio and print, but now, streaming media is wooing and winning eyeballs on the Web. The demand for streaming media content such as movie trailers, commercials and full-length feature films continues to grow aggressively. In the past month alone, movie trailers for The Grinch and Charlie’s Angels were viewed by thousands of people.”

Streaming Media Growth and Reach
(US Home Internet Users)
Unique Audience Percent
Nov. 1999 Nov. 2000
Total Streaming Audience 21.0m 34.7m 65%
Total Active Internet Users 74.0m 95.4m
Percent Reach of Streaming Audience 28% 36%
Source: Nielsen//NetRatings

More females accessed streaming content over the past year, increasing by 77 percent from November of 1999 to 16 million, compared to 9 million last year. Nearly 19 million males watched streaming media content from home, jumping 56 percent from November 1999.

Streaming activity is rapidly growing among kids and teens, as well as seniors. Nearly seven million kids and teens ages 2 to 18 accessed streaming content during the month of November, surging 65 percent from the same period last year. Year-over-year growth for seniors ages 65 and over totaled 95 percent with 1.4 million unique visitors clicking on some form of streaming media.

Across the board, streaming media consumption rose for various ethnic groups. Streaming media usage at home among African Americans increased to 3.5 million unique users last month, rising 118 percent compared to a year ago. Usage by Caucasians jumped 64 percent to more than 30 million users, while the Asian American group’s usage grew 41 percent to 797,000 users. Hispanics accessing streaming content rose 34 percent to 1.9 million users.

People with high-speed connections to the Web, tallying 11.2 million home users in November 2000, are more likely to consume streaming media content. Active users with a broadband connection in the home (56 Kbps or faster) were 50 percent more likely to access streaming media than their dial-up counterparts (56 Kbps and below), Nielsen-NetRatings found.

“What we’re seeing right now are the first steps towards convergence. As the popularity of streaming media grows, television and radio companies are beginning to produce content that captures the Web user, leveraging different media to reach their target audience,” Kelly said.

Earlier this year, a report by US Bancorp Piper Jaffray found that streaming media will be the next “macro-growth driver” on the Internet. According to the Piper Jaffray report, the six main growth drivers for streaming media would be the demand for interactivity; more effective advertising; b-to-b broadcasting; improved content distribution; availability of content; and innovative applications.

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