App Time Gains On TV

Ipad-Tablet-AIn a study last year, mobile advertising and analytics firm Flurry indicated that daily time spent with mobile apps exceeded that spent on the Web. In new data released Wednesday, the firm looks at how app and Web consumption stack up against TV viewing.

The figures suggest that app use has not caught up with TV, but it’s getting closer. For apps, Flurry used data collected from the 250,000 apps that use its analytics tools. In November, the firm said it measured 1 trillion in-app actions for the first time.

For time spent online, Flurry used publicly available data from Alexa and comScore. The TV data came from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Comparing that information, it found that time spent in mobile apps increased 35% to 127 minutes in December, from 94 minutes in the year-earlier period.

By comparison, time spent on the Web dipped 2.4% to 70 minutes, while TV was flat at 168 minutes. Flurry expects apps on tablets and smartphones to challenge broadcast television as the dominant channel for media consumption," wrote Flurry analyst Simon Khalaf.

But according to separate findings released by Nielsen today, apps have a longer way to go to catch up with TV. In its latest cross-platform report, Nielsen found people are spending on average about five hours a day watching live or time-shifted TV -- almost 80% more than the nearly three hours estimated by Flurry.

Given the explosion of social TV apps, the company’s findings also raise the question of how much overlap there is between time spent with apps and watching TV. Flurry can’t answer that, but Khalaf notes that TV networks are trying to capitalize on the trend by synchronizing TV content with tablet app offerings.

Nielsen found the vast majority (85%) of tablet owners, for instance, use apps while watching TV. People in the 25-34 and 55-64 age brackets are the mostly likely to do so multiple times a day.  However, people using smartphones in front of the TV tend to skew younger. Almost half of 18-24-year-olds use their handsets while watching TV at least once a day. Emailing and checking social networking sites are popular activities for dual-screen viewers on smartphones. Web surfing and emailing are favored options for older-skewing-tablet users. 

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