Stream Machines: Americans Spending More Time Than Ever on Smartphones

Time Spent With Mobile Overtakes Television, But TV Remains Dominant Video Platform 06/05/2019

Bottom line: The smartphone and tablet markets may be stagnant, but new and improved apps mean we're spending more time on our mobile devices than ever before.

For the first time ever in the USA, people are spending more time on their mobile devices than watching TV, according to new data shared by eMarketer on Wednesday.

In the United States, adults will spend an average of 3 hours and 43 minutes each day on their smartphones, feature phones and tablets this year, eight more minutes than they'll spend watching TV, according to a forecast released Wednesday by research firm eMarketer. Hulu generated nearly $1.5 billion in ad revenue a year ago, Variety reported, pointing to how many consumers are willing to view some ads if it means lower subscription fees.

Americans will spend 209 minutes daily watching TV this year, about 2.2 times the 97 minutes they spend watching digital video daily, according to eMarketer's estimates. The most commonly used apps are those that provide digital audio, such as streaming music services and podcast providers. The firm said tablet use among U.S. adults continues to lose ground, having peaked at 1:11 hours daily in 2017 and dipping to 1:08 hours this year.

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"While time spent watching traditional TV is declining, the networks already monetise their content that is viewed on OTT services like Netflix or Hulu", said eMarketer forecasting analyst Eric Haggstrom. However, when it comes to video, TV still dominates.

Of course, some would point out smartphones have more to offer than TV, allowing users to watch content while also jumping between their favorite apps.

Traditional television networks and studios have launched or are in the process of launching their own streaming services in a bid to capture those consumers.

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