RealNetworks’ RealPlayer is becoming the format of choice for Internet streaming, according to Nielsen/NetRatings data.

The figures show that RealPlayer content was played in the US by 25.3-million home users during June - 2.5 times more than any other format, according to the research firm. The number of consumers accessing the service grew by over 700,000 active users between May and June – useage of Windows Media content shrank by over 160,000 in the period.

Popularity Traffic to the Real.com Guide has grown more than 78 per cent in the first half of 2000. Nine of the top ten most requested streams on the Internet in June were accessed through the Real.com network, the figures claim.

Apple last month announced its QuickTime content would be supported by Real servers. Apple also said its QuickTime software had been downloaded over 50 million times.

Apple’s second annual QuickTime Live! conference will be held between October 9-12 in Beverly Hills.

Apple promises that the next version of QuickTime will be released this summer. It will support MPEG-1, MPEG-2, Flash 4 and host an enhanced QuickTime VR playback function, according to the company.