[thelist] flash detection

John Dowdell jdowdell at macromedia.com
Mon May 7 18:43:23 CDT 2001

Summary: Just more stats stuff, nothing you haven't seen before.... ;-)

At 3:31 PM 5/7/1, Ben Dyer wrote:
> Wait, wait, wait.  There is no way in the world these numbers are
> right.  If 96% of planet Earth has Flash, I'm the King of Denmark.

I hope you'll be happy to learn that the worries and cares of sovereignity
need never rest on your shoulders.... ;-)

MediaMetrix found that 96% of web-enabled consumers tested could
immediately view SWF content. Because only about 5% of the planet is
currently web-enabled, you may remain safely esconced in Texas, far, far
from the midnight sun.... ;-)

> There is no way in the world Real has only 54% and Quicktime has
> 38% especially since Macromedia indicates that bundling with
> browsers and OSs are one of their keys to market penetration when
> both Real and QT are also bundled with MSIE and NN!!  Logically
> then, both Real and QuickTime also should have 96% (or close to it).

You're welcome to believe what you wish, and if you prefer not to believe
these observations then that's certainly your prerogative too. You do not
need a reason to believe what you may desire... there is no pressing need
to resort to misformed reasons.

The phrase "bundled with browser" is the underdefined crux of the above
objection. There are actually many browser distributions, including but not
limited to the various downloads (minimal, normal, suggested), to hard-copy
distribution via browser CD, to hard-copy OS bundling, to new-computer
installation, to other bundlings (AOL, software discs, etc).

In this case one reason for the profound difference in actual viewership is
because the complete Macromedia Flash Player has been included in all
Netscape distributions since v4.07, and in most Microsoft distributions for
the last few years (the big exception on the latter is minimal-MS
download). While video plugins may be included in a subset of browser
distribution, you also need the system extensions to use this plugin...
merely distributing a video plugin is not enough to give video capability.

Atop that you also have the daily download rates for updates. The
Macromedia Flash Player has had over 3 million completions per day since
September of last year. Compare this to QuickTime 5 having 1.5 million
downloads (requests? completions?) during its introductory week, with
RealPlayer 7's introductory week having three million downloads (requests?
completions?). Flash has at least a seven-times distribution advantage,
perhaps many times more than that depending on what the press releases
actually meant.

(NB: There's a big difference between download requests, and download
completions... marketing types usually prefer to use the number of requests
as their "downloads" figure, whether or not these were requests were
actually successfully completed. Mike H raised the interesting point about
"registered users" having its own frailties. All of these measures pale in
comparison to actual viewership audits, which zero-out the multiple-install
and related problems. MediaMetrix directly measures viewership among
representative consumer samples.)

Summary: The reasons so many more consumers can instantly view SWF than
video include both far wider initial distribution, as well as an
overwhelming difference in daily downloads.


John Dowdell, Macromedia Tech Support, San Francisco CA US
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