After a series of pronouncements and surveys that argued broadband adoption had all but reached its apotheosis, Nielsen/NetRatings reported yesterday that broadband was still enjoying strong growth in the U.S.:
The number of active broadband users from home increased … from 74.3 million in February 2005 to 95.5 million in February 2006 … hitting an all-time high of 68 percent for active Internet users in February 2006 … Overall Internet penetration in the US has stabilized over the past few years, reaching 74 percent at home in February 2006.
There’s a lot at stake in whether consumers continue to adopt high-speed access and/or high-speed Internet access becomes more widely available (e.g., Wi-Fi hotspots, etc). Broadband/always-on access is the single factor more than any other that changes users’ behavior and causes them to spend more time online doing more things, often at the expense of traditional media (though that typically depends on demographic and income/educational factors).
Rich media and video consumption also benefit from broadband. Here are Nielsen’s data about the most trafficked U.S. video sites in February:
- MSN Video
- Google Video
- iFILM (now owned by Viacom/MTV)
Again, according to Nielsen:
MSN Video garnered 9.3 million unique visitors in February 2006, growing 44 percent over the previous year. YouTube and Google Video grew from relative obscurity in February 2005 to substantial players in February 2006, drawing 9.0 million and 6.2 million unique visitors, respectively. iFilm and Yahoo's video search saw triple digit year-over-year growth in their visitation, drawing 4.3 million and 3.8 million unique visitors, respectively.
Here’s more on the politics of broadband.
Vaguely related: Harris Interactive survey data on news media consumption by media type and user age category (as you might imagine, the younger the consumer the more it skews toward online).