by Mark Walsh, March 5, 2014 MEDIA POST
Consumption of mobile video in the U.S. might best be described as wide but shallow. The number of people watching video on smartphones (ages 2 and over) in the fourth quarter of 2013 reached 101 million, up from 80.7 million in the year-earlier period.
Average time spent per user in mobile video increased 23% to one hour, 23 minutes per month — but still trailed well behind that of other media, according to the latest quarterly cross-platform report from Nielsen. Traditional TV is still easily the biggest time sink for Americans, at 155.32 a month, roughly the same as a year ago.
Starting with the fourth-quarter report, Nielsen noted that figures for mobile use and mobile video are based on metered data rather than survey-based insights.
“With this, we see some trend breaks as we migrate to a more precise and consistent reporting of mobile consumptions, one that is based on measured behavior,” stated Dounia Turrill, SVP, insights, Nielsen, in the study.
Time-shifted TV accounts for another 14:40, up from 12:38. One interesting development is the growth in time with apps or the mobile Web on a smartphone at the expense of time spent on the desktop Web. The former increased to 34:03 from 27:22 a year ago, while the latter dropped by almost two hours to 27:44 a month.
Likewise, the number of people using the Internet on a computer fell to 204.4 million from 212.4 million, while App/Web smartphone users jumped 30% from 111 million to 144.3 million in the last year.
The average time spent using a smartphone overall (among adults 18 and over) per month increased to 1:07 in 2013 from 53 minutes in 2012.
Nearly all the time (89%) spent on media among smartphone users is in apps, with the balance on the mobile Web. The same pattern holds in tablet use, where 81% of time spent is devoted to apps versus the Web. Women use both formats on tablets more than men, at 27:45 versus 22:41 in apps, and 6:30 compared to 4:07 online.
However, on smartphones there is less of a gender gap, with men spending 29:32 in apps compared to almost 31 hours for women, and both sexes even in mobile Web use, at about 3:45 a month.
In terms of other demographic trends, African-Americans and Hispanics consumed mobile media at higher-than-average rates. Both ethnic groups, for instance, watched about two hours of mobile video a month, while Asian-Americans came in at 1:39.
Whites, however, make up the vast majority of smartphone users overall at 70%, with 73% watching mobile video.
The biggest chunk (38%) of smartphone users by age fall into the 35-54 bracket, with those 25-34 making up 22%, and those 18-24 at 16%. People 55+ account for nearly a quarter (24%). Smartphone video users, again, broadly parallel those figures, although only 18% of those 55 and over watch video on their phones.
The time for watching video on a smartphone peaks between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. — similar to the peak times for TV and online video viewing. That suggests people are dividing their attention among screens during traditional TV prime-time hours.