A media player usage recount that was supposed to bolster Apple QuickTime has been completed, but the outcome isn't quite what Apple wanted: Instead, RealNetworks has retained the top spot for home-based media playing, though its usage share has fallen dramatically, and Microsoft's Windows Media Player has launched into the top spot at work. Meanwhile, QuickTime ends up where it was when the recent media player usage controversy began: A distant last place in both categories. Recently, Apple complained that market share ratings for media player usage over-counted certain players, notably those made by RealNetworks, because of the number of support files required by their native media formats. So these most recent statistics--provided by Nielsen/NetRatings--do not count these supporte files, as was done in the past.
"As the Web evolves, we are constantly refining our tracking technology to provide deeper, more insightful media measurement," says Nielsen/NetRatings senior VP Manish Bhatia. "This new report offers enhanced breakdowns of multimedia activity, responding to requests from the industry for more granular information on which to base business decisions."
According to Nielsen/NetRatings, RealNetworks' RealMedia players are number one at home, with 17 million users, compared to 15.1 million for Windows Media Player and 7.3 million for QuickTime. At work, Windows Media Player edged out the competition, with 12.2 million users, compared to 11.6 million for RealMedia and 5 million for QuickTime. To give you an idea of how far RealNetworks has fallen, consider the December 2001 results, where the company reported had 32 million home users and 16.3 million work users, compared to 14.6 million and 9.9 million, respectively, for Windows Media Player. And what about Apple's complaints? Apple actually lost usage share since last year, when it had 7.4 million home users and 5.5 million work users.
A second company, Media Metrix, announced recently that it would discontinue tracking media player usage this month because of complaints that its results were not accurate. Media Metrix hasn't yet determined whether it will revise its methodology or simply stop measuring this statistic for good.