Uncommon Wisdom

May 4 2010   1:28PM GMT

Smartphone content models coming into focus

Tom Nolle Tom Nolle Profile: Tom Nolle

There are mixed messages on just what people think about smartphone content. Some studies suggest that social networking is where most mobile users spend time, but other research suggests that consumers are actually watching full episodes of TV shows on smartphones. Our own model here is still stabilizing. It suggests that while small-screen viewing isn’t preferred in an aesthetic sense, the “avoidance behavior” created when youth dodge parental supervision may leave little choice for them in content consumption.

Our behavioral analysis suggests that young people spend most of their time in a behavioral mode we call “out” — meaning moving around in response to social pressures without a fixed location. This is the “migratory behavior” we’ve noted before. The question is whether this behavior will stabilize into a combination of actual on-the-move and sedentary at a hospitality location like a café. If it doesn’t, it will be hard to target these users with tablets, and smartphone video would be mandatory.

For operators, either mode is tough because of the mobile traffic load. But for content producers, the growth of mobile content could prove lucrative if distribution problems can be solved. We may have some hard data soon; Apple expects the iPad to reach volume milestones (it recently hit the one-million-unit mark) much faster than the iPhone did.

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