The number of video streams increased 80.7 percent in 2004, for a total of 14.2 billion streams, according to AccuStream iMedia Research.
Broadband connections (defined as 100 Kbps or higher) accounted for 79.3 percent of that volume. Narrowband connections, for their part, accounted for the remaining 20.7 percent, the bulk of it over AOL, which continues to offer 40 percent of its streaming content at narrowband bit rates, said Paul Palumbo, AccuStream’s research director.
AccuStream compiles its streaming data from a variety of sources, including server log data for all the leading streaming sites, direct information from content distribution networks, and Nielsen//NetRatings, with which AccuStream has a content-sharing partnership, Palumbo said.
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“Growth was really strong in the number of [both] audio and video streams in 2004, outpacing even our own optimistic forecasts in the past,” Palumbo said. “I remember a few years ago when we had 3.5 billion video streams, thinking that was a really big number. Now, we’re already four times that.”
Palumbo attributes this growth to four primary factors: continued growth in broadband penetration in the U.S. and worldwide; popularity of streaming media in office environments; more ad-supported broadband content; and media players that queue files for auto-play.
Robust growth is projected to continue in 2005, with a total of 21 billion streams (up 48 percent year over year) forecast for 2005. By 2007, the annual volume of video streams is projected to exceed 35 billion.
Music videos accounted for the largest share of streaming video usage in 2004, with 34 percent of total views. News and information was second, with 20 percent of total streams. Third was the sports category, accounting for approximately 15 percent of total views.
The report also includes figures for increased online radio use. The average “aggregate tuning hours per month” in 2004 was 178.9 million, up 75.9 percent over the 101.7 million hours per month measured for 2003. AccuStream predicts growth in online radio use will trend ahead of video in 2005, growing 60 percent year over year.
YouTube is said to be preparing new non-video features that will allow content creators to interact with their viewers through photos, text posts, links and polls.
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