Mobile Content Consumption to Grow 52 Percent in 2013
February 25, 2013
By Gary Kim, Contributing Editor
Mobile devices increasingly have become “additional screens” for consumption of content over the last two years, with time spent using mobile devices for activities such as Internet and app use, gaming, music and other content more than doubling over the past two years.
In 2013, the amount of time U.S. consumers spend using mobile devices—excluding talk time—will grow 51.9 percent to an average 82 minutes per day, up from just 34 minutes in 2010, according to eMarketer.
That trend points out the larger role content consumption now plays on untethered screens such as tablets as well. In fact, tablets have succeeded precisely because so much of what people now do “with computers” is consume content.
The touch interface and content-optimized form factor is so popular because they work for content consumption, much as touch interfaces work for other simple user input devices such as automated teller machines.
The issue now is how much user consumption will shift in the direction of tablets and smart phones. Time is the issue. People can multitask up to a point, but physical time is the main barrier to significant growth in attention and usage of content and media.
Since online already accounts for an average of nearly three hours of time spent with media each day, there are limits to how much attention can increase further, unless time spent with other activities changes significantly.
Up to this point, mobile or tablet usage arguably has been supplemental to existing media usage. But at some point, one might argue, tablet and smart phone consumption is likely to start cannibalizing other media activities, simply for reasons of time.
Multitasking will still happen, but texting, e-mailing or browsing on a phone or tablet is different than watching video on a tablet or phone. It’s hard to have two devices streaming different content simultaneously, and pay attention to either. And use of tablets and phones as primary content delivery devices will raise that issue.
The point is that mobile is becoming less a communications utility and more a media distribution hub, since mobile now accounts for a 12-percent share of Americans' media consumption time – triple its role in 2009.
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