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A Growth Spurt for Streaming

Broadband’s growth might be slowing, but the number of high-speed data users who access streaming video is still on the rise, according to new findings from AccuStream iMedia Research.

During the first six months of the year, broadband users accessed an average of 15.4 video streams per month, per site — a jump of 42.6% from 2003 for sites with 90% broadband usage.

AccuStream said it analyzed 5 billion video streams during that time and found that 79% were served at broadband speeds, or speeds of 100 Kilobits per second or higher. The average rate was 225 Kbps, while length of view was more than 2 minutes per stream.

More Per User

The number of video streams served per unique user rose 23%, to 3.17 streams per month, per site, AccuStream said.

“Broadband users on ad-supported sites now watch over 30 minutes of streaming video per month from home and work,” AccuStream director Paul Palumbo said in a statement. “Along with longer viewing, more total views and increasing reach, content published for broadband users has increased this year, and the market is transitioning.”

Palumbo said promotion and cross-promotion are key components to increasing the viewing of video streams — and that translates to more broadband advertising.

“As broadband-video consumption has increased, so too has broadband advertising,” Palumbo said. “And just like subscription television, broadband advertising is now placed inside subscription streams, too.”

Palumbo said usage via America Online largely mirrored that of the general population, with AOL Broadband users accessing an average of 14.5 streams per month.

AccuStream said subscription video offerings, like Real Networks Inc.’s “RealOne SuperPass” and those of the professional sports leagues, averaged anywhere from 30 to 80 video streams per month, per subscriber.

Video-stream usage should continue to grow even as broadband growth slows down. Leichtman Research Group reports that cable and digital subscriber line providers added 1.7 million high-speed subscribers in the second quarter — the fewest net additions in more than a year.

Sequential Dips

Only Qwest Communications International Inc. and Mediacom Communications Corp. reported quarter-over-quarter sequential increases in high-speed data subscribers, LRG said.

DSL added 895,336 subscribers, compared to cable’s 830,791 additions, giving it a 52% market share over cable in the quarter. The top cable providers maintained a 6.4 million-subscriber advantage over DSL. They enjoy a 61% to 39% edge in market share over the telcos.