The Explosion of Video on Tablets

July 11, 2012

video, tablets, wall street journal

The rapid growth of the tablet market is part of a trend unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.   

Three years ago, only 2% of U.S. adults owned a tablet or e-reader device; that number is now nearly 30%. A recent study from comScore shows that nearly 1 in 4 smartphone owners owns a tablet, a 13.9% increase from a year ago.  

In a presentation on Internet trends in May, Kleiner Perkins analyst Mary Meeker took a look at how the rapid growth of tablets has overshadowed the previous explosion of smartphone sales.  According to Meeker’s presentation, iPad sales per quarter are three times that of iPhone.  What’s incredible about that number is that it’s not that iPhone sales are slowing - in fact, they continue to see an increase on a quarterly basis; it’s just that iPads are flying off the shelves at an unprecedented rate.  

Meeker also points out that it took a few years for mobile apps and the mobile web to mature on smartphone devices - while with iPad apps, that time frame has been much shorter.

Another trend worth noting from this study is the increase of video watching on tablets.   One in ten tablet users views video content almost daily on their device - tablet users are also nearly three times more likely to watch video on their device compared to smartphone users.

The meteoric adaptation of tablets has allowed users to get their videos - sports, entertainment, or news - when they want it, where they want it.

"Tablets are one of the most rapidly adopted consumer technologies in history and are poised to fundamentally disrupt the way people engage with the digital world both on-the-go and perhaps most notably, in the home," said Mark Donovan, comScore SVP of Mobile. "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."

The potential for video apps on the iPad is tremendous and media companies - recognizing the opportunity - have jumped in head first. In June, the Wall Street Journal launched a new early morning show called ‘Asia Today’ that is broadcast weekday mornings.   

According to Raju Narisetti, managing editor for The Wall Street Journal’s Digital Network, “From a business point of view, we cannot generate enough video streams,” he said. “We are sold out. There is no shortage of demand to generate more video views.”

The WSJ is creating more than four hours of live video per day, some 1,500 videos per month, accessible across 18 digital platforms like iPads, iPhones, desktops, YouTube, Apple TV, etc. and that still hasn’t come close to reaching demand.

Americans are spending more time with their screens and taking them wherever they go so Narisetti believes that ‘portability’ will be the biggest issue newspapers (and advertisers) face in the future. With nearly a third of Americans now getting their news on mobile devices, Narisetti claims you have to create content in a way that travel.’