Macromedia, Inc. today announced the results of a study by NPD Online Research, the parent company of Media Metrix, an independent research organization which found more than 83 percent of Web browsers worldwide had the Flash Player installed, enabling Web surfers to view Flash content without needing to download and install a player. Flash is the standard for creating high-impact, vector-based Web sites that deliver motion, sound, interactivity, and graphics.
Macromedia opened its Flash file format last year, allowing other companies to both export the Flash file format or playback Flash content within their applications. Macromedia has also entered into numerous distribution agreements to ensure the ubiquity of Flash, which now ships with most leading operating systems, media players, and Web browsers, including Windows 98, Mac OS 8.6, America Online 4.0, WebTV, Apple QuickTime, RealNetworks' RealPlayer, and current versions of Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer. The Flash Player is freely available for Macintosh, Windows, Solaris, Java, Linux, and IRIX platforms (see separate release).
NPD Online Research, the parent company of Media Metrix, conducted a market research study in June to determine what percentage of Web users could view various graphic and media formats. The same survey was also performed with Europe and Japan-only samples, yielding similar results. The new results represent a six percentage point increase over a similar study conducted four months earlier by King, Brown and Partners which had found 77% of all Web users were equipped to view Macromedia Flash content without having to retrieve a player.
The study polled a representative sample of Web users, who were asked to access several Web pages and indicate whether they could view the media on that page. After GIF and Flash at 99.4 and 83.1 percent respectively pages containing Audio Video Interleaved (AVI) content were viewable by 41.9 percent of respondents, Adobe System's Portable Document Format (PDF) content placed at 34.9 percent and other tested player-based streaming media content was only viewable by less than 30 percent of survey respondents.
If you are unfamiliar with Flash, it truly is one of the most exciting web technologies on the market. It allows for a level of interactivity and animation not possible otherwise. If you would like more information on Flash, head to Macromedia's web site. The company has also made the survey results available.