In my opinion, yes!
Search engines are still rather “stupid” when it comes to rich media content, and the most they can seem to understand at present is straightforward text content. They currently have no really effective method of parsing rich media content, which means this content will not carry much weight in terms of how pages are ranked in search engines. Whilst some search engines do allow the indexing of Flash’ movies, they can do little more than this, as they have no real way of “seeing inside” the movie and determining what’s going on. With the growth in popularity of search engines, more people desire higher ranks, and accordingly will do everything possible in order to achieve those ranks, and if making the sacrifice of an image or flash movie here and there is the key to achieving better rankings, then so be it.
I often wonder what would be the result if developers were to forget about search engine rankings and focus on developing sites of better design and put more of that rich content onto websites. It is my belief that web developers would feel more pressured to continue developing at a higher pace in order to continually beat the competition, hence leading to somewhat better rich media content than we currently have. Although the impact of search engines may not make a huge effect of this, I do believe that it has an effect (however small) of the development of the internet.