U.S. Computer Users Average 3 GB of MP3s

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Market analysis firm comScore has developed a new Tech Metrix analysis “product” with the idea to expand beyond the company’s widely-cited (and much-debated) Web usage metrics and examine U.S. computer users computer user’s hardware, software, and usage. What kinds of systems do people have? What are their screen resolutions? What video and audio capabilities do they have? What applications are installed? What sorts of files to they store? Like other comScore analyses (and similar reportage from Nielsen, Gartner, and others), the Tech Metric isn’t designed to actually figure out what U.S. computer users really do: it’s designed to ferret out information useful to product developers and (of course) advertisers.

“comScore Tech Metrix represents comScore’s first foray into non-Web based measurement,” said Linda Boland Abraham, comScore executive VP, in a release. “This service will enable product developers and marketers to better tailor offerings to their core constituencies by understanding the technical underpinnings of their customers’ computer usage. When combined with Web behavior profiles, Tech Metrix data will help marketers develop a granular perspective of the machine configuration and behavior of key customer segments, along with how and where to reach them on the Web.”

The first Tech Metrix reports contains some interesting information: for instance, comScore finds that MP3 files are by far the most common file type on U.S. computer user’s systems, accounting for (on average) 880 files and almost 3 GB of storage. By file type, the second runner-up was Microsoft Word (.doc) files with the average user having 197 of them, but which consumed only 34 MB of hard drive space. Third place went to Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) documents (100 files accounting for 84 MB), with Excel spreadsheets (.xls) and Windows Media video files (.wmv) taking fourth and fifth place.

The Tech Metrix report then attempts to break users into different categories based on the number of files of particular types they have on their systems. For instance, “Heavy MP3 Users” would be the top 50 percent of users with the most MP3 files on their systems; “Heavy Microsoft Word Users” would be the top 50 percent of users with the most Word files on their computers.

For April 2007, comScore found that Heavy MP3 users are more likely than the average Internet user to visit certain types of Web sites, especially sites having to do with gaming, online gambling, teen-oriented social networking, entertainment and humor, music retailers, and instant messaging. Heavy Microsoft Word users, conversely, were more likely than average Internet users to visit sites related to business, finance, and taxes, along with sites offering retail consumer goods, sites about politics, and sites having to do with shipping, air travel, and religion.

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