Updated. Apple’s (s aapl) share of the online video sales market is on the rise again after a falling considerably due to new competition, an IHS iSuppli study revealed on Monday. Apple’s market share rose slightly from
65.9 64.9 to 65.8 percent during the first half of 2011, when compared to the same period in 2010. It’s a small increase, but it reverses a negative trend and also brings the largest increase in revenue for any online video retailer.
IHS cited the “rising usage of Apple’s AirPlay system,” which allows streaming of video from Apple’s mobile devices or computers to the Apple TV, as one of the primary sources for the increased popularity of Apple’s iTunes service, and also pointed to the “growing installed base of the iPad and price promotions” as causal factors. Both are new introductions since Apple experienced a dip of 11.9 percentage points year-over-year between 2009 and 2010.
Also introduced during the recovery period was an improved Apple TV model, which is a key component for AirPlay, and which also provides easy access to Internet video on demand content through iTunes rentals. Apple recently introduced the ability to view purchased iTunes TV shows via streaming from its servers on the Apple TV, too.
Two of Apple’s strongest competitors, Microsoft’s Zune(s msft) video marketplace and the Sony Playstation Store(s sny) both experienced considerable drops in market share during the first half of 2011, as compared to the same period in 2010, but Walmart’s Vudu (s wmt) service, which recently introduced a web-based iPad streaming app to avoid Apple’s sharing revenues with the iPhone maker, gained a lot of ground, and Amazon VOD(s amzn) grew slightly as well.
Based on these numbers, there’s a fairly clear avenue for Apple to take for continued growth: Make sure video purchased through the iTunes Store is available to any and all of the company’s devices, and make it easy to share content from one device to another. If it can manage to secure a deal with content providers like the one that allowed iTunes in the cloud to back-up and share music across devices, that would be a good next step.