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TV vs Smartphone - Which do you use more?

July 2, 1928, The United States began its first regularly scheduled television service; 48-line silhouette images from motion picture film were broadcast as an experiment in a suburb of Washington, D.C. We've come a long way since then. Not only has television seen its share of technological advancement, our phones seem to have had their advancements as well and they are worthy competition in today's entertainment, news, social age.


Television has been a staple for news, information and entertainment for over 100 years but it seems smartphones and mobile devices are talking its place.


TV vs. Smartphone Viewing


The average TV viewer in the U.S. spends 2 hours and 30 minutes a day watching TV, while the average smartphone user spends, roughly, 3.3 hours a day on their phone. Tablet and laptop users come in at around an hour to an hour and fifty minutes.


The Two Screen Experience


It's not uncommon to walk into the average household and find someone using their mobile device while watching TV.


In 2013, Millward Brown Digital, a research and marketing firm, found that consumers use a mobile device and TV'S 41% of the time. 30% related content, 70% unrelated content.


That means the majority of the time people could be missing out on important moments of their favorite shows or news programs. It also means that, in some cases, it's possible that consumers are having some kind of interactive experience with certain programs on TV, looking up information about what they are watching or directly interacting with the program.


With shows like American Idol, Talking Dead and even most news programs, relying on instant audience interaction, the use of a smartphone is becoming an instant, personalized experience.


Young People and Smartphone Viewing Experience


According to Neilson (a leading global information and measurement company) 85% of consumers say mobile devices are a central part of everyday life and 90% of those aged 18-24 agreed.


Here's Neilson's percentage breakdown for most performed activities by consumers on mobile devices:


91% check email at least once a day.

90% text message at least once a day.

70% search for general information.

69% check emails at least once per day.

57% use a smartphone or tablet for reading.

40% watch videos or movies.


While the use of tablets for passive activities (reading and watching movies) is growing, a surprising 36% of young people turn to their smartphones for video content.


Mobile Content for Everyone


With the emergence of video content sites like YouTube and VEVO, it's no surprise people are turning to their mobile devices for video and music viewing. Although the younger generation is responsible for this audience boom, people of all ages are turning to their smartphones for everything from local and world news to the latest viral video.


YouTube for example, now offers "Channels" where people can go to watch their favorite video content. This is like a grassroots, free TV experience you can carry with you in the palm of your hand.


Machinima is now one of the most watched YouTube Channels in the world with an audience of 200 million people. By comparison, HBO, one of the first original programming networks has roughly 30 million subscribers.


It is estimated that 40% of YouTube's traffic now comes from mobile devices. That percentage just two years ago was only 6%. That's quite a jump. Just from that stat alone, you can see how influential our smartphones and mobile devices have become in terms of getting our information and watching content.


All the evidence suggests that consumers are using their smartphones and mobile devices to watch more of their favorite videos, movies and TV shows at a rapidly increasing rate. Is this a kind of virtual bridge that will eventually lead to a completely different way we watch our favorite movies or TV shows? Will they soon be called mobile device shows? Only time will tell.