December 29, 2003

Another Set of Data Points [4:31 pm]

More on the stalling of internet deployment, and some indication of how well the RIAA’s battle is going [via beSpacific] — from the Christian Science Monitor: The Internet hasn’t reeled in everyone yet

After spiking in the 1990s and early 2000s, the percentage of adult Americans online has leveled off in the past two years at 63 percent, says a new study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. That percentage is expected eventually to rise, but not as quickly as some had imagined.

“It’s no longer the case that the Internet population is growing by leaps and bounds,” says Lee Rainie, director of the Pew project. However, “the Internet is eventually going to become as important and universal a technology as telephones and televisions are now.”

Ninety-four percent of American homes today have telephones; 98 percent have TVs. “The Internet is eventually going to get to that level,” he predicts, “but it’s going to take at least 10 years - or maybe even 15 or 20.”

[...] One key barrier slowing Internet growth is the lack of broadband connections in some areas, says Phillipa Gamse, an e-business strategy consultant in Santa Cruz, Calif. Broadband allows users to move around the Internet faster, doesn’t tie up the phone line, and, perhaps most important, can be left on all the time, like other appliances.

From the Pew Study: America’s Online Pursuits: The changing picture of who’s online and what they doHobby and Entertainment Activities

About a third of users download music files.

  • 32% of Internet users have downloaded music, as of October 2002.

  • That represents growth of 71% from 21 million Americans who had downloaded music as of the summer of 2000, to 36 million who had done so as of October 2002.

  • The number of users who download on a typical day doubled from 3 million to 6 million between 2000 and 2002.

  • Online men are more likely than women to download music.

  • This activity is particularly appealing to online minorities.

  • Young adults and teens are the likely downloaders.

  • There is a higher proportion of downloaders among those with modest household incomes and with high school diplomas.

  • Those with broadband connections are more likely than others to download music.

[...] Wired young adults have undoubtedly driven the growth of music downloading more than any other adult age group. As we have reported previously, college students, represented in the 18- to 29-year-old demographic, are twice as likely to have downloaded music compared to the general population and they are three times as likely to do so on any given day. College students often have free access to high-speed Internet connections on campus and have utilized those resources to become pioneers and heavy users of file-sharing technologies. The older an Internet user, the less likely he or she is to have downloaded music. While 54% of 18- to 29-year-olds had downloaded music in October 2002, just 29% of 30- to 49-year-olds had done so.

Children and teens have been even more voracious downloaders. In a special survey of 754 children between the ages of 12 and 17 that we conducted in late 2000, we found that 53% of online children had downloaded music. For comparison’s sake, only 42% of 18- to 29-year-olds said they had done this. Considering the growth that has occurred across all age groups between 2000 and 2002, it is likely that number of children downloading music has also grown.

See also A Slowdown In Broadband Deployment

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