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Big Brother jacks up Real Player usage

Generates 500,000 UK downloads

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The demand for video streaming from Net viewers of Big Brother has boosted the UK user base of Real Networks' Real Player by 500,000.

Before the show started there were a total of five million Real Player users in the UK. But since the start of the 24 hour Web casts that figure was been boosted by 10 per cent just from downloads from the Channel 4 site.

To put it in perspective, only around 200,000 Real Players are downloaded every month worldwide.

The UK figures suggest another major leap in Web useage and wider acceptance of developing technologies from non-hardcore Internet users. Once again sex has helped power technology leaps - in this case Web clips of Tom getting a hard-on while massaging Melanie, simulated shagging sessions from Craig and Claire, or Darren hanging loose in the shower. And there was Nick getting ejected, which was pretty popular, but not quite so sexy.

By the way Webscene, a company which produces software to let companies block their staff from accessing some Web content, reckons Big Brother watching is costing businesses £1.4 million a week. This figure is a represents the cost of wasted worker hours based on between 100,000 and 150,000 unique users logging onto the site each day for an average of 15 minutes. Webscene assumes all these people are hitting the website at work and they earn £11.64 per hour (this figure came from an April 1999 survey by the Office for National Statistics). ®

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