Friday, November 21, 2014

Finding Myself Going In Opposite Directions

As devices go, I find myself going in opposite directions.

For different reasons, my cell phone just got a lot bigger and my tablet smaller.  The iPhone 6+ is a lot easier to read and the mini-tablet is a lot easier to handle.

Research I will get to suggests I will soon be shedding some devices.

For me, the size of the keys on the keyboard of the 6+ is more important than making or receiving phone calls, partly because when I do, I am in the Jeep where it happens via the sound system or on speaker mode.

Very rarely do I raise the phone to my ear anymore and the larger size works just fine when I do.

Even for people north of age 65, such as me, only 18% use their cell phones a lot for phone calls compared to 38% of the general population, according to Gallup.

Among Americans overall, 18% rarely use cellphones a lot to make or receive phone calls, compared to 27% who rarely use them for text messages and 29% who don’t use them to read or send emails.

More telling though, is that more than half of Americans now rarely, if ever, use a landline.  More than 64% rarely, if ever, use a landline at work now.

Even among those in my age group, only 17% still frequently use a landline from home.  Of course, all but 7% of those under age 30 are probably looking up to find out what a landline is.

By the way, for anyone who wears a leather belt-loop holster to carry their phone when not in use, I have a recommendation for where to get one, especially for an iPhone 6 or 6+, and even more so if you use a protective case.

Alyssa Nott, an artist up in Fort Wayne, Indiana makes these to your specification and she does wonderful work.

In 2012, friends who learned I had read several books on my cellphone during one of my annual cross-country trips since retiring five years ago, thought I was crazy.

I didn’t realize I was among only 8% of people my age who read e-books, available from numerous apps including one from local bookstores, and even as loaners from some public libraries now.

But that same study showed that by 2012, a quarter of Americans who read e-books did so on a cellphone, including 41% of those ages 16-29.

I always read a bit before going to sleep, often just reversing the screen from white with black type to black with only the type backlit.  I have found myself, without realizing it, using the iPhone 6+ instead of the tablet.

It isn’t inconceivable that I won’t buy another television either.  I am one of the nearly 8 million Americans who only stream when it comes to television and I have to say, watching on an iPhone 6+ is pretty impressive.

Those who measure television viewership are scrambling right now to do a much better job of capturing metrics across all screens as well as digging deeper into things like engagement.

A report this month showed that mobile apps are surpassing television in minutes per day.  In part, this is because television viewership is “graying,” and nowhere more than cable.

Click on the infographic shown in this post to see an illustration.  Click on the chart at this link to see the growth in “app events” (action completed inside apps, not just opening and closing them) just since I retired at the end of 2009.

Time spent on mobile devices in the US grew 9.3% over the last nine months to an average of almost three hours a day, while time spent on television was flat at 2 hours and 48 minutes per day.

But a Nielsen executive last month noted that the drop in prime-time television ratings is the result of people watching on other devices.  It just hasn’t reached agreement on how that will be counted.

This sounds a little like newspaper executives a decade ago who were arguing that circulation has been level since 1991, just as advertising revenues, which translate more to the bottom line, were going into a free fall that continues today.

Millennials still watch television, just not traditional television and especially not television news.

By location, 98% view video at home on a smartphone as do 58% at a friend or significant others home.  Half view it on a smartphone while on vacation, more than a third while commuting, and a fourth will at a restaurant or bar.

They are watching television, just not on a television set, and just not live.  My career in community marketing reaches back to a time when it was important to note whether hotel rooms had a television, a color television.

I can now see the time when having an in-room television will be as obsolete as that landline telephone they still have.

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