Needham & Co analyst Laura Martin says they are — and her new report making that case should rattle media execs. Martin thinks more deeply about corporate strategy and game theory than any analyst I know. And she warns traditional content providers that streaming infotainment companies including Google, Yahoo, AOL, Microsoft and Vevo are shrewdly sneaking up on them by focusing on young people who like to watch videos on mobile devices including tablets and smartphones. The tech companies are “creating short-form premium videos that are difficult to monetize, and therefore largely ignored by incumbents,” who’d rather create hit TV shows, Martin says. The big guns have to pay attention to conventional programming: Attractive shows help to keep pay TV subscribers attached to today’s high-priced packages. “Unbundling threatens up to 50% of the total revenue of the TV ecosystem,” Martin says. But media money follows time, and as mobile devices become more popular we could see “advertising share shifts away from TV and toward the new premium-video online ecosystem.” The big producers are “fighting over the 0-2% viewing growth pie rather than the 50% viewing growth pie.” Martin says that she’d “feel better” about the long term prospects for Big Media “if they were allocating …
Never mind the ballyhoo about ultra-high definition televisions that Samsung, Sony, Sharp, LG, Panasonic and other consumer electronics manufacturers will generate this week at the annual International CES gadget confab in Las Vegas. Only a few consumers have the money and desire to buy one of these beautiful but pricey sets which pack four times as many pixels as a conventional HD television: U.S. consumers will buy just 1.4M ultra-HD sets in 2016, accounting for 5% of all sales, the Consumer Electronics Association projected today. But it looks like the more meaningful announcements for ordinary TV viewers will come this week from companies that want to help them harness their small screens — smartphones and tablets. CEA Senior Analyst Shawn Dubravac says that consumers are becoming “digital omnivores,” adding that “the second screen is now robust.” Dish Network, which likes to use CES to unveil its new technologies, apparently agrees: It’s teasing
Producers and directors who’ve finally learned how to craft shows to fill big HDTVs had better learn how to also scale them down for the tablet computer. It’s one of the fastest growing consumer technologies ever, and 53% of tablet owners used the devices to watch video or TV content in April, according to a report out today from comScore. By contrast, just 20% of smartphone owners used the devices to watch video that month. Researchers also found that a disproportionate number of tablet owners make video viewing part of their routine: 18.9% watch something at least once a week, and 9.5% do so every day. Among smartphone users 6.7% watch at least weekly and 2.9% check out videos daily. ComScore says that nearly 27% of the tablet owners who watch video at least once a month paid to do so. About 56% of tablet owners are in households with income of $75,000 or more. The devices, introduced just two years ago, “are poised to fundamentally disrupt the way people engage with the digital world,” comScore SVP Mark Donovan says. “It’s not surprising to see that once consumers get their hands on their first tablet, they are using them for any number of media habits including TV viewing.” Video viewing on tablets probably will skyrocket as cable and satellite companies introduce TV Everywhere plans that stream movies and shaows that used to just be piped to TV sets.
Tablet computer devices like Apple’s iPad, Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble’s Nook have replaced laptop and desktop computers as the preferred second-screen alternate to television for watching full-length TV, according to the results of a study commissioned by Viacom. Titled “Tapping Into Tabletomics” and surveying 2,500 avid tablet users in Los Angeles and New York between the ages of 8-54, the study aimed to determine what the arrival of tablets would mean for users’ behavior and feelings about the dual-screen TV experience. In just the few years that tablets have been in wide use, they have had a profound impact on television viewing, with use of desktop computers and smartphones showing the most pronounced decline. Digging deeper into the data, the survey found that comedy and music programming was especially popular on computers, including tablets, while reality, dramas, sci-fi and sports remain most popular on traditional TVs. But the survey also showed that tablets aren’t about to dislodge TVs as the preferred way to watch programming. TV won every time when when participants were asked about everything from sound/picture quality to watching current episodes to ease-of-use.