Mobile Gaming, Social Networking Peak During TV Primetime

People spend the most time playing mobile games and using their devices to social network during weekday TV primetime hours—8 PM to 10 PM—according to a new analysis by Arbitron Mobile during the fourth quarter of 2012. The study, looking at U.S. mobile usage on an hourly basis,  found five activities—voice calls, messaging, browsing, social networking, and gaming—dominated weekday smartphone use.

Average time per hour for each of those activities, except for voice calls, increases in the morning until 9 AM to 10 AM. Things start to change dramatically between 4 PM and 5 PM. Among the specific changes:

-Starting at 5PM, the average time per hour for voice calling falls off sharply. At the same time, average time for mobile gaming and social networking begins a sharp acceleration toward their respective peak hours of 9PM.

-Messaging begins a slow decline at 4PM that continues until 9PM. It then begins a sharper decline in average time per hour that goes on into the after midnight hours.

-The end of the workday exception: mobile browsing, which maintains a consistent average time per hour from 10AM through 10PM. As prime time wanes, browsing then declines at a slightly lower rate than other top smartphone activities.

-Mobile gaming and social media activities accelerate between 5PM and 6PM to their hourly peaks in TV prime time. Around 10PM, the average time per hour for gaming and social networking begins a steep decline that continues into the early morning, when the workday-based cycle begins again.

The findings are consistent with prior research indicating mobile use surges in the morning as poeple check things like weather and traffic, and in the evening when they use their devices as second screens while watching TV or leisure activities like gaming.

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