Nielsen Reports TV Viewing Increase Across All Platforms

  • Americans are watching on average 22 more minutes of television per month than last year, according to Nielsen’s cross-platform video report.
  • The average viewer watched more than 158 hours a month of television content on a TV set in Q1 2011.
  • Viewing has increased across all platforms, with Internet and mobile devices seeing increases of 34.5 percent and 20 percent, respectively.
  • However, a subset of viewers who access video via their PCs tend to watch significantly less traditional TV (especially in the 18- to 34-year-old demographic).
  • Nielsen credits the surge to increased amount and diversity of content in addition to the ability to view content based on viewer’s convenience.
  • Another factor is the rise of the tablet, which offers a bigger and better viewing surface than smartphones.
  • According to Peter V. Dobrow from Comcast, families are increasingly adopting mobile devices for TV viewing. “Families use them, if the adults want to watch one thing, then the kids can watch another on the iPad and the whole family can still be in the same room,” Dobrow said. “We’re pulling together different apps and trying to make it easier to use and more consumer friendly.”

Smartphone Data Usage Hits All-Time High

  • It should come as no surprise that Nielsen’s monthly analysis of cellphone bills for more than 65,000 lines indicates that smartphone users (which comprise 37 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers) are consuming more data than ever before on a per-user basis (especially those with app-friendly iPhones and Android devices).
  • The average smartphone user is accessing 89 percent more data per month than last year’s figures, growing from an average of 230MB per month to 435MB per month in the first quarter of 2011.
  • Nielsen reports that “data usage for the top 10 percent of smartphone users (90th percentile) is up 109 percent while the top 1 percent (99th percentile) has grown their usage by an astonishing 155 percent from 1.8GB in Q1 2010 to over 4.6GB in Q1 2011.”
  • As data usage dramatically increases, most users are paying approximately the same amount they did a year ago for data, translating to a lower cost per unit of data consumed.  According to Nielsen: “The amount the average smartphone user pays per unit of data has dropped by nearly 50 percent in the last year, from 14 cents per megabyte (MB) to a mere 8 cents.”

3D Phones: Next Big Thing or Next Big Gimmick?

  • Recent product announcements indicate 3D technology may not be just for cinema releases and home theaters, as the technology is beginning to make its way to mobile devices.
  • The first significant 3D mobile device was the Nintendo 3DS (launched in March). The $249 3DS features a 3.5-inch glasses-free 3D screen. However, sales so far have been disappointing. NPD Group reports that Nintendo sold almost 400,000 units in the first week following its U.S. launch (100,000 units less than sales of the original DS in November 2010).
  • Now, tablets and smartphones are in the 3D spotlight.
  • Rumors are surfacing that the next iPad will feature 3D capabilities – and two new Android smartphones, the LG Thrill and the HTC Evo 3D, are already touting glasses-free 3D.
  • Manufacturers hope these devices will make watching movies, playing games, and sharing photos more of an immersive experience.
  • The LG and HTC phones include special 5MP dual-lens cameras for shooting 3D photos and videos.
  • It is too early to tell whether 3D technology for mobile devices will be the next big thing or merely the next big gimmick. However, the much lower cost of mobile devices could make adoption more swift than its been for comparably higher priced HDTVs.
  • According to Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis at NPD Group: “Handsets by themselves are typically not as strong a voice for developers to create 3D applications. If someone the likes of Apple or Google get into 3D, then there will be a large enough base.”

Sharp Announces New Smartphone-Linked TVs

  • Sharp announced it will launch new Internet-ready TVs next month in Japan that can interact with its smartphones.
  • The new Aquos L Series will enable Internet access via a new online platform called Aquos City.
  • The platform plans to offer “news, entertainment and weather forecasts, among other content and services.”
  • The TVs will also link with Sharp’s Aquos cellphones and smartphones (but not with non-Sharp handsets).
  • “Users will be able to take videos with their mobile handsets and send them to the TV, for example.”
If successful, will we see this in the US? Or will adoption be contingent upon interaction with other devices?

Which Smartphone OS will Come Out on Top?

Nick Nero provides some interesting perspective in this month’s Connected World Magazine regarding which smartphone OS will become the dominant global platform by the end of the year. The short answer according to Nick: Google’s Android.

The article provides an interesting overview regarding the progression of RIM’s BlackBerry, Apple’s iPhone, Windows Mobile devices — and the growing worldwide adoption of Android devices. It further points out that Android will continue its dominance throughout 2011 based on several key factors: Open Software Architecture (“arguably Android’s biggest competitive advantage”), Open Marketplace (consumers recognize “the benefit of a free-market approach to smartphone apps and this will continue to push Android to the head of the pack”), and More Partners (Android “is available on devices from practically every carrier in the country”).

Nick offers these final thoughts: “By the end of this year I expect Android to have a very comfortable lead in the smartphone OS market unless Apple begins to open up its model a bit. I wouldn’t bet on that happening given that a very pretty walled garden is essentially Apple’s business model. I don’t feel too sorry for Apple though — it does extremely well in the high-quality experience niche it occupies in the Macintosh space.”

Related CNET article: “Gartner: Android leads, Windows Phone lags in Q1” (5/19/11)

Related ReadWriteWeb article (including videos): “The Future of the Smartphone: Holograms & Folding Screens” (5/18/11)

Related Gadgetbox article: “PlayStation phone coming to Verizon Wireless” (5/17/11)

Related Mashable article: “Smartphone Sales Up 85% Year-Over-Year” (5/19/11)

Related ReadWriteWeb article: “iOS Ad Impressions Up Nearly 50% this Year, says Millennial Media” (5/19/11)

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