Saturday, January 19, 2008

information exaflood

According to a Berkeley study How much information? , published in 2003, the total quantity of information stored in all types of media amounts to about 5 exabytes of new information per year. One exabyte is roughly the equivalent of 50,000 years of DVD quality video. The exabyte flood is TV and radio programming, movies, books, DVDs, documents, Internet content etc. English is the dominant language:

"The United States produces about 40% of the world's new stored information, including 33% of the world's new printed information, 30% of the world's new film titles, 40% of the world's information stored on optical media, and about 50% of the information stored on magnetic media..."

Ninety-two percent of new information is stored on magnetic and optical media, primarily hard disks, CDs and DVDs. The Berkeley study mentions that "the U.S. produces 37% of the world's audio CD titles, 50% of the CD ROM titles, and 40% of the DVD titles." Accumulated stock of audio CDs worldwide is some 1.5 million titles (560,000 are original US titles).

Worldwide film production

"The number of motion pictures made around the world from 1890 to 2002 was approximately 328,530,divided into:

Animation Films and Series: 15,790
Documentary Films: 30,475
Silent Films: 49,417
Black and White Films: 113,992
Color: 254,538

Source: The International Film Index, 1895-1990.
How much information 2003

After accounting for some 10,000+ titles produced per year between 2003 and 2008 we come up with 400,000 titles.

"The most obvious trends are the phenomenal rise in filmmaking in the United States between 1991 and 2001, contrasted with the significant fall in filmmaking in at least three other film producing nations - Italy, the Soviet Union / Russia, and Mexico." Accounting for short films and documentaries US has "overtaken India as the major producer of film" with some 1740 films vs India's 1013. Accounting for this factor France is third and Germany fourth (2001).
How much information 2003


In 2001, the United States produced about 4,000 DVD titles per year (more than 100per week). According to the DVD Entertainment Group as reported by the study as of January 2003 there were some 20,000 DVD-video titles available worldwide. DVD is now a mature format. More recent figures are too much work to come by, but according to the Content Delivery & Storage Association CD & DVD Replication was segmented in 2005 in the following manner: North America 30%, Asia 30%, Europe 31%, Japan 5% South America 2% Australasia 1% and Middle East 1%. Language learners will note that DVDs produced in North America are likely to have only French and Spanish audio tracks. For some reason even Australian DVDs come with more interesting language options. The new Blueray format provides additional possibilities regarding extra language soundtracks. Hopefully publishers and movie studios will take advantage of this. Properly stored quality DVDs and CDs may have a life expectancy of up to 200 years.

Printed information and books

A note of caution here because a large percentage of printed information is plain old office junk. Without it, according to the Berkeley study, the U.S. accounts for around 10% of the world's original information flow in print. According to Graddol (based on UNESCO figures) in the 1990's English accounted for about 28% of the world's total book production. The total world stock of books, all books ever written is very difficult to measure, and estimates range between 65-100 million unique titles. More about this here

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