Tablets helping shake up the traditional TV viewing scenario
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Tablets helping shake up the traditional TV viewing scenario

If/when Apple releases its own branded HDTV, the product will almost certainly continue the trend of allowing Apple users to starting watching a video on device and continue watching it on another. And if the broadcast networks are smart, they'll work with Apple to move beyond today's outdated method of receiving content.

For example, new data from comScore (, which specializes in "measuring the digital world, finds that tablets have quickly reached a critical mass in the U.S. with one in every four smartphone owners using tablets during the three-month average period ending April 2012. The study also found that tablet users were nearly three times more likely to watch video on their device compared to smartphone users, with one in every 10 tablet users viewing video content almost daily on their device.

"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," sys Mark Donovan, comScore senior vice president 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."

In just two years since the launch of the iPad, the first tablet to reach a meaningful market penetration, tablet adoption has exploded fueled by the introduction of new devices that appeal to various price and feature preferences. In April 2012, 16.5% of mobile phone subscribers used a tablet, representing an increase of 11.8 percentage points in the past year.

Growth in market penetration was even more apparent among the smartphone population with nearly one in four using a tablet device in April, an increase of 13.9 percentage points in the past year. A lower 10.4% of feature phone owners use a tablet, suggesting that smartphone ownership is highly predictive of tablet adoption in the current market.

A closer look at content consumption on tablets found that more than half of tablet users watched video and/or TV content on their device in April 2012, compared to just 20% of the smartphone audience, with larger screen sizes making tablets more conducive to video consumption than their smaller-screen cousins. Not only were tablet users more likely to watch video, but they were more likely to view video habitually with 18.9% of tablet users watching video content at least once a week, and 9.5% watching video nearly every day on their device. Of those viewing video at least once during the month, 26.7% paid to watch content, highlighting the tremendous monetization potential this platform represents for content providers.

TV viewers are increasingly wanting to watch the shows they want, when they want, where they want. The move to a la carte programming is eventually inevitable. I'm just not sure the network execs realize this year.

-- Dennis Sellers

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