Non-browser Internet Use on the Rise

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By: Ann M. Mack

(Adweek IQ) Three out of four home and work Web users go online through non-browser-based Internet applications, such as media players, instant messengers and file-sharing tools, according to Nielsen//NetRatings.

A recent report found that about 106 million people used Internet applications in November, up 11% from the year-ago period. These users spent an average of three hours and 37 minutes per month using these tools.

Windows Media Player was the most popular application, reaching 34% of the active user base. AOL Instant Messenger and Real Player followed, each with a 20% reach. And MSN Messenger Service and Yahoo! Messenger Services reached 19% and 12% of the active user base, respectively.

“Functionality has grown beyond the browser to become a fundamental piece of the overall desktop,” said Abha Bahagat, senior analyst at Nielsen//NetRatings, a part of Adweek parent VNU. “It’s become harder to distinguish when you’re on the Internet, blurring the lines between what’s sitting on the desktop and what’s coming from the Web.”

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