Flash Player 8 is at 86% (June 2006), and info about the methodology update

The latest penetration study has been published, and Flash Player 8 is at 86% penetration. That’s an amazing number considering it only took 9 months to cross the 80% mark — something that historically has taken 12 months to reach. Flash Player 9 launched after the survey was sent out, so we won’t have stats for v9 until the September study. But the download rates are the same as Flash Player 8 so you can use history as your guide. 😉

Another important aspect of the June study is that we decided to improve upon the methodology we are using, since it has been the same since it was first started in 1999. A new company, Millward Brown, was selected for the updated study. The study itself has not changed; we still survey users with a set of media and content files and ask them “Can you see this fish?” (click here to see a sample of the survey, also linked from the methodology page). But we wanted to improve upon the worldwide sampling to get a better representation for the study. In the new sample, we have broadened it to a multi-country study and based on the World Internet Usage and Population Statistics, the surveyed countries collectively represent 72% of the world’s internet connected population as of June 30, 2006. We will now be reporting a weighted average for “mature markets” as our worldwide number. The “emerging markets” study will be conducted twice a year.

Obviously, making any changes to the methodology does introduce potential continuity issues with the data. We actually did run both versions for the last two quarters to check the results, and the results were very similar and within the margin of error. But, if you really need to compare apples to apples this is still possible with the latest data. In the previous studies with NPD, the primary sample was in the U.S. so you can still trend the US numbers across the studies.

FAQs for other popular questions that popup whenever we release a study:

Q: What is the penetration in corporations/enterprise?
A: Unfortunately, we don’t really have this information. The reason we don’t test for this in a penetration study is that, frankly, it’s not easy to do. The reason is that with “internet households” or “internet population” there are forecasts, data, and census that can be used to understand how to select a representative sample. That doesn’t really exist for companies. The study does ask the user if they are on a home or work computer, but again, since our sample isn’t designed to be representative of enterprise internet access we can’t project that data into percentage penetration.

Q: My company just did a test on our site to see the version penetration of our visitors. Why is our penetration higher/lower than what this study reports?
A: The penetration of Flash for your target audience is likely to differ from the results reported by this study, because the study is a conducted on a representative sample of the world internet connected population. For example, if you have a website that is primarly targeted to young kids who are likely to be on hand-me down PCs and aren’t allowed to install things — you will probably see a lower penetration of the latest Flash Player on your site. If you are targeting the MySpace/YouTube generation — chances are you are seeing 80+% of your site visitors with the latest version. The study provides guidance on the overall penetration of each technology, but applying it to your specific case may require some thought about whether the number is appropriate for your use as-is or if it is one input into your decision about updating versions depending on what you know about your target audience.

Q: Now that Flash Player 9 is out, does that mean the Flash Player 8 penetration ends at 86%?
A: Nope, that part is a bit confusing based on the way it is presented. Since the study is asking the user if they can see a set of files with the plug-ins they currently have installed on their system, what we are truly testing in each question is whether the user can see a SWF of version 5, 6, etc. When we say that Flash Player 5 has 97.3% penetration, this is the same as stating “97.3% of people can view a version 5 SWF.” If you wanted to state the percentage of users that actually have Flash Player 5 installed, it would be the delta between those that can see only SWF6 and up and those that can see SWF5 and up OR [97.3% – 97.2%] = 0.1%! Note that with weighted averages and margins of error, this calculation doesn’t work with some of the data. But you get the general idea of how to get to the individual player penetration.

19 Responses to Flash Player 8 is at 86% (June 2006), and info about the methodology update

  1. Steven Hilton says:

    > Flash Player 8 is at 86%The other 14% are your Linux users. :-)Thank you! I’ll be here all week!

  2. nano says:

    ^^ and that’s precisely why popular websites like Youtube and Google video have still not upgraded to flashplayer 8.

  3. suketu vyas says:

    This is Great :)Flash Rocks….

  4. Julian says:

    Awesome! Flash 8 has been quite the trip so far. Unless you expand the availability of FP8 on other operating systems though, I will never quite feel 100% confident requiring Flash 8 for a website.

  5. Frank says:

    yea, yea…we all know you Linux people are mad at the lack of FP 8/9. Adobe hasn’t forgotten about you. They had a choice, release the player staggered for different operating systems and annoy the small subset of Linux and 64bit users or delay releasing 8/9 for the 85%+ of the market who uses Windows & Mac at the expense of hurting everyone just to make it fair for a small group.Look at it this way, Adobe is ‘beta testing’ their players on the masses before releasing newer versions to you :-)suggestion: if you want Adobe to release more software, buy more software and they will get the hint…you can’t expect everything for free all the time (and expect others to deliver)

  6. Limulus says:

    Frank wrote: “yea, yea…we all know you Linux people are mad at the lack of FP 8/9. Adobe hasn’t forgotten about you. They had a choice, release the player staggered for different operating systems and annoy the small subset of Linux and 64bit users or delay releasing 8/9 for the 85%+ of the market who uses Windows & Mac at the expense of hurting everyone just to make it fair for a small group.”A few points here: first, Macs are just ‘a small group’ compared to Windows (and it might even be that there are as many Linux users as Mac users) and yet they got a Flash 8 and AFAIK they got it in a timely manner. There was no flash 8 for Linux nor will there be. Flash 9 was released for Windows and Mac simultaneously and yet Linux users are still waiting for even an alpha to test.”Look at it this way, Adobe is ‘beta testing’ their players on the masses before releasing newer versions to you :-)”Wow…I’m starting to see why proprietary software is so hated in the Linux community.Look at it this way: there’s a party going on and we’re not invited. Is it because you dislike us or do you just consider us unimportant?”suggestion: if you want Adobe to release more software, buy more software and they will get the hint…you can’t expect everything for free all the time (and expect others to deliver)”Double wow…Go to http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,3959,1210083,00.asp and read how in 2003 Disney wanted to run Photoshop on Linux and ended up having to use Wine to get it running because Adobe never made a port. So the demand is out there. But it is apparently ‘difficult’ for Adobe to port these apps… So is Adobe intentionally sabotaging the Linux desktop experience to steer consumers to OSs where they sell their wares? That is the not so subtle hint I’m getting from your comment. If that is the case, its reprehensible and will end up resulting in further animosity from Linux users which will not be quickly forgotten.The lessons that are being learned right now will be applied in the future BTW. When Flash 10 is released, if the Linux version is not ready when the Windows and Mac versions are, I think a campaign to boycott sites that won’t render in Linux will be in order. And then you won’t be dealing with just angry Linux users, you can also deal with angry companies who are being targeted when they were told that the latest version would be viewable by nearly everyone.

  7. Steph says:

    “suggestion: if you want Adobe to release more software, buy more software and they will get the hint…you can’t expect everything for free all the time (and expect others to deliver)”Hmmm, interesting that you assume no Linux users ever actually buy Adobe software.My company has a licensed Studio Mx2004 and a licensed copy of Illustrator, but we have not upgraded to Studio 8 due to Linux compatibility with the player.. just because most of our machines are Linux, does not mean we don’t have a couple of Windows machines around running Adobe stuff.

  8. John Dowdell says:

    Hi Emmy, thanks for the writeup. Re your Q on versioning, I’ve also seen the response from Julian here: “Flash 6 has wider distribution, so that’s what we’ll target.” Lots of people seem to get confused by this.A pie chart would make this clear pretty quickly, wouldn’t it? If the world’s Flash Player installations were backed into a pie and sliced into 20 pieces, then:o 17 of those pieces would be Flash Player 8 (only nine months after release!)o Flash Player 7 would have almost two full sliceso FP6 and *no* Flash together would make up the last of the 20 slices of pieo and there’d be some crumbs in the pan for Flash Player 5I don’t have Excel at this machine, but would a versioning pie chart help with this FAQ?tx, cu, jd

  9. John Dowdell says:

    Re the threadjacking these days, I was just looking at the Internet Archive of the Players list… the first page in the archive isn’t until 1998, but shows that Macromedia hasn’t needed convincing about investing in Linux:http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.macromedia.com/shockwave/download/alternatesI’m not sure these facts would be heard, though… “I can watch Homestar Runner but not YouTube” is a stronger dynamic.

  10. jago pearce says:

    It’s not ~80% because when you click through the survey it says it already has enough responses `from people like you`, so that’s effect the result.Still, I’m used to managers using fighting with figures, so to do it so well through a 3rd party is commendable.

  11. Rob H. says:

    Hey Frank, nice assumption about the buying habits of Linux users-NOT. Did you know that there is commercial software available for Linux that sells? Applications to games to virtualization software. I’d rethink that statement before you attempt to project that Linux users as a whole aren’t willing to pay for software.

  12. emmy says:

    Hi Jago,The survey linked from the methodology is an example only, and not the live survey. That is probably why you received that message. When the survey is run, it is sent to a sample of people – it is not intended to be generally accessible because then Millward Brown would have no way of knowing what population the results represent.best,e

  13. rj says:

    “suggestion: if you want Adobe to release more software, buy more software and they will get the hint…you can’t expect everything for free all the time (and expect others to deliver)”Gee, I was thinking the Flash Player is free. Didn’t realize you have to pay for it. I must have missed something.Linux has a bigger market share than Mac, so unless you are saying Mac users are much heavier consumers of internet multimedia than Linux users (yeah, right) your argument makes no sense at all.I’d really like to know Adobe’s business strategy. Tie in everything to Microsoft’s OS when Microsoft is waiting for the opportunity to take your market share. It is impossible to compete with Microsoft on Windows. Their own applications will always run a little faster, be a little more convenient. It’s simply a matter of Adobe having people at the top not knowing or having any curiosity about Linux. Ask Larry Ellison and see what he tells you about the intelligence of jumping in bed with Microsoft.Adobe doesn’t even make Linux products, so what are you talking about? I would guess that a lot of companies are tired of being forced to use overpriced Macs to get their work done.

  14. ewindisch says:

    “suggestion: if you want Adobe to release more software, buy more software and they will get the hint…you can’t expect everything for free all the time (and expect others to deliver)”If they had commercially sold Linux software, I’d probably buy it. How am I supposed to purchase software that doesn’t exist? Silly rabbit.

  15. Emmy, can you give us a sense of what the user adoption for Flash Player 9 is looking like? I know that MySpace is using it now for their video player, so I imagine that should have accelerated the adoption. Please let me know, as I am strongly considering developing a mass-market web app in Flex 2. Thanks!Andrew

  16. John Dowdell says:

    Andrew, Kevin Lynch apparently gave some guidance yesterday at FlashForward… Ryan Stewart has a roundup of reporting here:http://blog.digitalbackcountry.com/?p=498(From all I see, current development with Flex 2 is a very safe bet, for most audiences… if it’s a general web audience then it’s looking like half of them already have FP9 installed, increasing extremely very rapidly each day. But if your audience is special, like using locked machines or heavy non-Mac/Win presence then it may take a little longer until many of them are already set up for you like that.)

  17. mk says:

    Any idea on what is going on! Commercial software for Linux? It is out there and people are actually paying for it.We have 100 Mathematica for Linux licenses (Wolfram) and several dozens of Matlab for Linux licenses (Mathworks), almost all machines in our department are running Linux. We would like to run at least 20 copies of Adobe Acrobat professional for Linux — but there is no such thing. We’ve got the money — they just have to collect it …

  18. Flug says:

    lool @ the latest update “flash player” 10 ;)This Blog is a part of the past tense!