Earlier this week, the Online Publishers Association (OPA) revealed that tablet owners use the devices to get content, versus just emailing and Internet access. OPA collaborated with Frank N. Magid Associates, Inc. to evaluate attitudes and behaviors of media and entertainment consumers and surveyed 2,540 internet users between the ages of 8 and 64 for a one-week period (March 19 through March 26, 2012).
Content falls under 12 categories, video leading the pack with 54% reporting they use their tablets to do watch video on a weekly basis. But 92% of that subset watches short-form video that includes news clips and weather forecasts, as well as sports and TV clips. The rest of video qualifies as entertainment, with user-generated content on sources like YouTube, music videos, full-length movies and TV shows and so forth.
Of 12 categories of content, and when asked “What types of wireless tablet content have you paid for” on the mobile web or in an app, none of 12 categories topped 8% of users. Still, 8% of an estimated 74 million owners is 5.9 million buyers, per week. Entertainment (e.g., streaming movies and TV content) was the only category to reach that 8%, followed by sports and weather tying for 6%, then shopping and fitness/health, tying for 5%.
Books, Magazines Before Newspapers
A total of 39% of readers have bought a single issue or digital subscription for their tablets—20% for single issues, 19% for subscriptions. And 35% have bought an ebook. But, just 15% have bought a digital newspaper subscription. Comparing those figures to the 12 categories of paid content, Poynter Institute’s Jeff Sonderman observes/laments that tablet users are “Fairly willing to pay publishers for content that is entertaining and highly visual (magazines, books and movies), less so for straight news and newspaper content.”
The simple fact is, free news is plentiful in the US. Fully 41% of owners consume local news on their tablets, and 37% consume national news—far more than that 15% who have digitally subscribed, meaning much of that content is free. By contrast, the Nielsen Company found in March that European tablet owners are more willing to spend for news, reaching 44% among Italians. That is likely less an indicator of Americans’ disinterest in news than of a lack of free apps in the European market.
Still, Americans are increasingly willing to buy apps, across categories. The OPA found that fully 72% of tablet owners have paid for apps, and their consumption has nearly doubled in a year, from $1.4 billion in 2011 to $2.6 billion in 2012. Interestingly, more iPad owners at 79% have bought apps than Android-device owners, at 73%.