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‘Mobile is the new TV,’ finds Magid study

There is an ongoing fundamental change in how Americans think about and consume media, largely due to the rapidly growing number of consumers who have adopted smartphones and tablets in a relatively short amount of time.

That’s the bottom line of an new nationwide study from Frank N. Magid Associates, which characterizes the role smartphones and tablets now play as the beating heart of content and commerce in 2013.

The research and strategy consultancy firm’s latest nationwide study, “The Heartbeat of Connected Culture: Smartphones and Tablets,” finds that 74 percent of U.S. mobile consumers now use a smartphone, and 52 percent of mobile consumers now use a tablet.

Double-digit percentage gains in device adoption as well as sticky and compelling content have led to triple-digit gains in a range of smartphone and tablet content activities, including video, games and social media.

According to Magid, mobile is the new TV with mobile video establishing itself this year as a mainstream activity. Forty-four percent of smartphone users and 61 percent of tablet users regularly watch video on their devices.

What they are watching has changed as well. It’s no longer simply short clips and YouTube videos. The study reveals 45 percent of smartphone viewers and 71 percent of tablet viewers now watch long-form TV, movie and sports content on those devices.

"Consumers have made the clear leap into mobile long-form," says Andrew Hare, Magid Research Director. "Beyond just TV and traditional video consumption, however, the visual culture has taken over with the growth of Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Vine showing consumers increasingly prefer to communicate through images and video."

Smartphones also are becoming a force in the brick-and-mortar retail environment. Sixty-six percent of users aged 18-34 now interact with retailers in-store on their smartphones. However, Magid's survey shows retailers and brands lag far behind consumer expectations for a mobile-enhanced shopping experience.

The Magid survey is based on a nationally representative sample of 2500 cell or smartphone owners ages 12-64. Data was collected Aug. 12-24.

Phil Kurz

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.