Broadband penetration crosses 50 percent threshold

In what is one of the most important developments to date in the New Media revolution, Nielsen/NetRatings is reporting that over half of the Internet population (51%) accessed the Web via a broadband connection in July, up from 38% in July of 2003. This is staggeringly significant, because the 50% threshold is considered critical mass by Madison Avenue.

I remember a CBN staff retreat 20 years ago during which an executive from Saatchi & Saatchi addressed the group about this “50% threshold.” At the time, we were considering the ramifications of the remote control. I recall the degree to which this magic line was significant, because as each new application (VCRs, etc.) crossed the line, it meant greater difficulty for broadcasting in general. I often recall that meeting, because I’ve since watched many other technologies cross the threshold. It’s one of the reasons I’m so convinced that broadcasters need to move into other forms of distribution in order to maintain market share.

The caveat in this announcement is that the threshold applies to mass marketing, and I’m equally convinced that’s a dead horse. The point, however, is that this will accelerate the movement of revenue away from broadcast and to broadband based applications, such as the advertising noted below.

UPDATE: Reuters is reporting that broadband growth slowed in the 2nd quarter to the lowest pace in a year. Caveat: the study is of cable and phone company numbers only.

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