Whether you realize it or not, Flash has become the most widely used video playback platform on the Web, and it is becoming more and more common in the distributed desktop video playback market. According to Nielson’s online video ratings, YouTube alone, which uses Flash Player, accounted for over 5 billion streams, and more than 77 million unique visitors just in the month of July 2008. Add in just a handful of other top video sites that use Flash, such as Nickelodeon, Disney, Hulu, and CNN, and it’s easy to see how ubiquitous Flash video has become.
The number of streams, or even unique visitors, isn’t really the most telling statistic, however. According to August 2008 data compiled by independent research firm comScore (commissioned by Adobe), Flash Player is used to view 86% of online videos in the United States, and 80% of online videos worldwide, making Flash the number one technology for viewing video online.
Why is Flash video so omnipresent? The main reason is that it uses Flash Player and doesn’t require any additional installation just for viewing video. Depending on which version of Flash Player you’re considering, up to 99% of all online users have Flash Player already installed on their systems. It is also operating system-neutral, making development for the platform much simpler and more economical.
A particularly good reason, however, for the popularity of Flash video is that it’s easy for everyone—not just experienced video professionals—to ...