News Update :

Ubiquity of Content--Users' Perspectives

Monday, June 30, 2008

Read Part 1 here.

This series started with a headline that predicted that users will watch 25% more video five years from now. The challenge for content producers is to make content of all kinds accessible “anywhere, any time, on any device” that users want. How much do marketers know about what they do want? Here are a few of the things we’ve learned recently.

A study by Deloitte reported in eMarketer (newsletter, June 5, 2008) focuses on entertainment and the differences between age cohorts. The fact that this is a trend lead by the young is not a surprise. Look at the Boomers column, though; does it surprise you that boomers participate in a lot of these activities—but mostly on the desktop, not on their cellphones. I’m reminded of the friend who ran around taking videos of a patriotic celebration over the weekend and the discussion of where to upload them that followed. The whole point was to share the celebration with distant friends.

Another study, this one by Ipsos and featured in Marketing Charts, found that the percentage of video watching on TV had gone down from 75% to 70% from 2007 to 2008. This chart gives a lot more detail on the devices used. When you look at it carefully, there’s something really interesting. As you would expect, TV watching is lowest in the younger age groups, but the trend is not linear. Look at the “portable DVD players.” It’s much higher among the very young (too young to pay for one themselves), lowest among the two middle age cohorts, and higher among the two oldest. Is this an affordability issue among the 18 – 34s, who are the lightest users? Or is it a preference? Marketers beware of extrapolating trends!

With that warning in mind, here are some related factoids from two recent Pew studies:

From a telephone survey in December 2007:

• 48% of internet users said they had ever visited a video-sharing site such as YouTube. A year ago, in December 2006, 33% of internet users said they had ever visited such sites. That represents growth of more than 45% year-to-year.
• 15% of respondents said they had used a video-sharing site "yesterday" -- the day before they were contacted for our survey. A year ago, 8% had visited such a site "yesterday." Thus, on an average day, the number of users of video sites nearly doubled from the end of 2006 to the end of 2007.

A later release from the same survey revealed that 62% of respondents had accessed the Internet or data from a mobile device:

• 58% of adult Americans have used a cell phone or personal digital assistant (PDA) to do at least one of ten mobile non-voice data activities, such as texting, emailing, taking a picture, looking for maps or directions, or recording video.
• 41% of adult Americans have logged onto the internet on the go, that is, away from home or work either with a wireless laptop connection or a handheld device.

According to John B. Horrigan, Associate Director of the Pew Internet Project and author of the report “People’s growing reliance on their cell phones, together with wireless internet access from laptops, suggests a shift in expectations about cyberspace. For many people, access to digital information and resources is an ‘always present’ utility for answering questions and documenting what is going on around them through photos or video recording.”

Marketers should remember that age matters when deciding how to provide content for mobile users, but it may not matter in easily predictable ways. It’s important to find out how your own target audience wants their content and on what device. You can assume they want it when they want it!
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