Sunday, January 4, 2009

Screens of All Sizes: Nielson Wire Report: Television, Internet and Mobile Usage in the US (3rd Quarter 2008)

Those of you who regularly follow this blog know that I'm obsessed with off-the desktop technology, including screens of all sizes, used in various situations and settings. On this blog, as well as the Interactive Multimedia Technology blog, I've noted how various disciplines and industries have been converging over time, often right in front of my eyes as I travel, shop, attend events, or hang out at home and elsewhere, by myself, with family, or with friends & colleagues.

Via Nielsen wire and The Web Outside blog:

Graphic from The Nielsen Company
(I will take this graphic down if requested.)

Although I've documented trends related to screen-based technologies at personal level, I haven't come across much hard data to support my hunches and observations. For this reason, I was happy to come across the report, Television, Internet, and Mobile Usage in the U.S., published the Nielsen Company. Here are some facts from the report, confirming what I've known in my bones for a while:

Summarized from page 4 of the report:

  • Television remains the dominant screen for watching video, and time spent watching television has increased over the past year.
  • People who watch recorded television, known in the industry as "timeshifted TV" also watch video online, but on average, but half as much.
  • Men are likely to watch video on their mobile phones, and women are more likely to watch video on the Internet.
  • During the third quarter of 2008, there was much online video content related to sports, politics, and finance, and online video use grew over the quarter.
Thinking about what I was doing during the third - and fourth quarters of 2008, I know that I spent more time watching on-line video clips on commercial sites, in addition to YouTube and Vimeo. I also shared more video clips on my blogs. I often have the TV going on when I'm on the Internet, and I'm not the only person I know who has this habit.

Of course, television producers have made efforts to engage audiences across screens. For example, American Idol fans can vote with their cell phones, and people can visit sites related to their favorite television programs via their mobile devices (i.e. iPhones) when they are out and about. Web addresses are often flashed across the television screen, and CNN encourages viewers to share their video clips of news as it happens via "iReport".

The impulse to "cross-screen"** has carried over to movie theaters. On a recent visit to the theater, I noticed a sign forbidding texting during the show. Too many people were texting during the movies, I guess. Or maybe they were on-line, looking at movie trailers?

Television, Internet, and Mobile Usage in the US
: A2/M2 Three Screen Report 3rd Quarter 2008


A good resource for information about the Internet is the Pew Internet & American Life Project website. Here are a few good articles and reports, along with a few quotes from the sources:

Seeding the Cloud: What Mobile Access Means for Usage Pattens and Online Content
(pdf)(John B. Horrigan)

"Our recent research shows that 62% of American adults have either accessed the internet wirelessly or used non-voice data applications, such as texting, emailing, taking a picture, or recording video, with a handheld. On the average day, 42% of those with cell phones or other wireless-enabled handhelds use the devices for at least one non-voice data application."

Mobile Access to Data and Information (pdf) (John B. Horrigan)

Networked Families (pdf) (Tracy L.M. Kennedy, Aaron Smith, Amy Tracy Wells, Barry Wellman)

"The internet enables shared "Hey, Look at this!" experiences."

"25% of online adults say that the internet has decreased the amount of time they spend watching television."

Adults and Video Games (pdf)
(Amanda Lenhart, Sydney Jones, Alexandra Rankin Macgill)

"More than half - 53% - of all American adults play video games of some kind, whether on a computer, on a gaming console, on a cell phone or other handheld device, on a portable gaming device, or online."

Demographics of Internet Users
Daily Internet Activities
Total Internet Activities

People are accessing the Internet more and more when not at home or at work, usually with their own device, and not a public screen or web-based interface.

This is changing, I think. Bill Gates says that every surface will be a computer, and we all know that computers = Internet. We are living in the dawning of the age of the Internet of Things, or should we say, the Internet of Screens?

Somewhat Related

Example of "cross-screen" interaction:
Fast-food operator serves up digital signage (via Self Service & Kiosk Association)

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