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Mobile entertainment use jumped dramatically last year

With tablets, smartphones and mobile apps of all kinds becoming an increasingly popular – One could almost say ubiquitous – part of daily life, it should come as no surprise to discover that mobile entertainment is on the increase in America. What may be surprising, however, is to just what extent that’s actually the case. A new study carried out by Millennial Media and comScore has revealed that mobile access to entertainment content of all kinds has undergone a staggering 82 percent increase across the past calendar year, according to a report appearing on the Hollywood Reporter, with the digital downloads jumping almost 50 percent since 2010. Does this change entertainment industry expectations about where their audience is going next?

According to the Reporter, downloads of entertainment content, whether it’s music, movies, television shows or e-Books remain the largest segment of digital purchases, with 47 percent of mobile shoppers having purchased at least one of the previous items between December 2010 and December 2011. The second most popular entertainment purchase is, perhaps unsurprisingly, tickets to some kind of real-world event, whether a concert, movie or something similar; 35 percent of online buyers having spent their money on that during the same twelve month period.

Overall, smartphones were the most common type of device used to access entertainment content during the study period, with tablet devices accounting for just 22 percent of user impressions. Of those smartphones, Apple’s iOS was eclipsed for the first time, with Android OS devices taking the lead with 47 percent of users (BlackBerry took a distant third).

Interestingly enough, despite a 133 percent growth in entertainment spending by mobile shoppers for 2011, the analysts at Millennial Media are predicting that there’s room for even more growth. The reason why? The majority of material accessed via mobile devices was promotional content, created to drive interest towards a particular product and priced accordingly (i.e., either free or available at a significantly reduced price). As Marcus Startzel, Millennial Media’s General Manager for North America, puts it, “I think the real trend we’re seeing is that studios and other entertainment advertisers are using mobile to engage consumers through all stages of the purchase funnel. This definitely includes directly selling over mobile devices, but it also includes steps like running awareness campaigns ahead of premieres and advertising reminders ahead of shows to drive TV tune-in. Additionally, we’re seeing studios develop apps to accompany major releases and then running mobile campaigns to drive adoption.” The future of mobile media, then, will perhaps rely not only on whether or not users can be pursuaded to pay for the content that they’re currently getting for free, but also on content creators treating mobile content as valuable in and of itself, and not something to push users in the direction of something else altogether.