Ad supported content driving up video streams

MUMBAI: In India broadband is an area that could experience explosive growth once convergence kicks in through the likes of Reliance. In the US the business of Internet video streams is going from strength to strength.

More ad supported streaming content in 2004 has helped push usage numbers (aggregate tuning hours and video streams served) up by 118 per cent and 80 per cent respectively.

The latest iBroadcast Stream Report data from media research company Accustream Research shows the number of video streams served per month during January and February by the top ten sites averaged 523 million compared to 292 million in 2003. The report is a monthly research service that examines US audience preferences for streaming media.

AccuStream research director Paul A Palumbo was quoted in a company release saying, "There is more and better content available in 2004 that has moved out from behind subscription services. While there was a rush to move high value content behind subscriptions in 2001 and 2002, as audiences have increased and the ad market improved more advertising is supporting broadband streaming content this year."

Broadband video available through sites such as Yahoo, MSN Video, MSNBC, CBS News and Fox News have augmented already significant streaming taking place behind subscription services from Real Networks, and hybrid subscription/ad supported outlets such as AOL Broadband and AOL Radio.

According to the report, there are more advertising supported streams available in 2004 than ever before, and ads are even appearing inside subscriptions streams. For Internet radio the tuning hours on the top ten sites per month in January and February 2004 averaged 137.5 million compared to 63 million in 2003.

"In an era of instant access and expanded content availability, streaming media is one of the most effective and opportunistic forms of brand extension since video tape" Palumbo added.

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