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Few Smartphone Users Watching Movies, TV Shows

30 Aug, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

With less than 20% of smartphone users watching TV or video on their device, new comScore data underscores the reality that watching video on a 3-inch screen isn’t surging in popularity

New comScore data about what users do with their smartphones notably glosses over the fact that just 9.3% of users watch TV or video no more than one-to-three times a month.

Buried among the data compiled from 30,000 smartphone users from May through July: 6.5% of users watch TV or video once a week and just 2.5% watch everyday.

Overall, 18.3% of smartphone users watch TV or video in a given month. Among this group, 13.4% watch professionally produced content (versus user-generated fare found on YouTube), which is up 3% from the same period in 2010.

By comparison the percentage of users listening to music on their phone increased 2.3% to 20.3%.

Specifically, 11.3% of smartphone users watched transactional video-on-demand or repurposed TV programming, compared with 7.7% last year. The percentage of users watching broadcast TV actually declined to 3.8% from 4% last year.

The percentage of smartphone users transferring movies or TV programming to their phone from a PC or other device increased slightly to 7.6% from 7.3% last year. Content transferred to a smartphone from a PC declined to 5.4% from 5.6%.

Indeed, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings in a recent call with analysts admitted that the uptick on Netflix activity on cell phones was limited.

Nielsen last month found that the Apple iPad, which included a Netflix app at launch, accounted for just 3% of respondents’ Netflix access — despite considerable media attention given to the service’s availability on the tablet computer. Another 1% of respondents use the iPad to watch Hulu content. Similar percentages for the mobile phone (3% Netflix, 2% Hulu) and TiVo (2% Netflix only) underscore the small footprint of these devices in the streaming realm.

Not surprisingly texting remains the most popular smartphone activity, with 70% market share from May through July, up 1.2% from the period February to April, according to comScore.

Other popular activities included Web browsing, up to 41.1% from 39.1%. Downloading apps increased to 40.6% from 37.8%. Accessing social networks or blog increased 2.1% to 30.1%. Playing video games increased 1.6% to 27.8% from 26.2%.


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