Mobile Gaming, Social Networking Peak During TV Prime Time

People spend the most time playing mobile games and using their devices to social network during weekday TV prime time hours -- 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Five activities -- voice calls, messaging, browsing, social networking, and gaming -- dominated weekday smartphone use.

The analysis by Arbitron Mobile during Q4 2012 is a wake-up call for TV. The study examines U.S. mobile usage on an hourly basis.

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

*Starting at 5 p.m., 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 9 p.m.

*Messaging begins a slow decline at 4 p.m. that continues until 9 p.m. 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 10 a.m. through 10 p.m.  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 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. to their hourly peaks in TV prime time. Around 10 p.m., 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 that mobile use surges in the morning as people 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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