Apps can increase viewer engagement

A study released by CTAM (the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing) – Roadmap to Video Apps (What Makes Viewers APPY?) – shows that sometimes the best things in life are still free. When rating the attributes of video applications, like YouTube, Hulu or iTunes for smartphones and tablets, 63 per cent of respondents said that “free or low subscription rates” is the most important attribute for a video application. In addition, 65 per cent of video app users say that word-of-mouth plays an important role in deciding which video apps to use.

“This new research uncovers valuable insights into how people are using video apps, how they complement their TV viewing behaviour and what’s most important to them. The results are encouraging, including the finding that consumers are open to advertisements on apps in exchange for a free or a lower costs service and generally even more receptive to ads on tablet apps,” said Indira Venkat, senior vice president, strategic research and consumer insights, The Weather Channel Companies, and member of the CTAM Research Committee overseeing this study.

This research, conducted by Nielsen and commissioned by the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM) is the first to feature both qualitative and quantitative consumer reactions to video applications on both mobile and in-home internet-connected devices. The qualitative phase was conducted at the Las Vegas-based “CBS TV City Media Lab,” May 17-May 19, 2011 in a living room setting. The quantitative portion of the study was conducted among video app users via an online survey from April 28 to May 12, 2011.

According to the research, roughly eighty-five per cent of video app users say they are watching the same amount or more, regularly scheduled TV since using video apps. In fact, for many, it enhances viewership of regularly scheduled TV. Nearly half, 46 per cent of video app users report being more engaged with the programmes or networks associated with the video apps after accessing them. And 35 per cent report that video app usage causes them to visit the network or programme website associated with the video app more than they had before they started using the app.

In another first, the CTAM study found that ‘Sync-to-TV’ apps actually increase consumers’ engagement with television programming rather than distracting from it. Sync-to-TV refers to a second screen app (in this case an iPad or iPad 2) that recognises a program broadcast through a TV set that launches interactive ‘modules’ on the second screen corresponding with the programming or show playing on the primary screen.

Consumers reported that the sync-to-TV experience makes them more likely to pay heightened attention to the programme thus increasing their engagement with the programme and the advertising and keeping them tuned in longer. One sync-to-TV respondent commented, “It made a difference because it was right there [on my lap]. I don’t have to go to the website and type out the URL or go searching for the same thing on my browser.”

Of the online survey respondents, roughly 95 per cent of video app users have used a downloaded, or pre-installed, video app (paid or free) via a mobile device (smartphone, iPod touch or tablet) and roughly 80 per cent via in-home device in the last 30 days. Roughly three-quarters of all video app users most often access video apps at home. Approximately 50 per cent of those who use video apps on their smartphones and iPod touches report they most often access video apps on these devices when they are in a car.

These, and other CTAM findings, follow Nielsen’s Q1 2011 Mobile Connected Device Report illustrating explosive growth in video app usage by a combined 15 million smartphone and tablet users.

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