About 53% of iPad owners and other tablet users watch video or TV content on their device at least once per month, compared with just 20% of the smartphone audience, according to a new study by research firm comScore.
Overall, tablet users are nearly three times as likely to watch video on the devices, with larger screen sizes making tablets more conducive to video consumption than their smaller-screen cousins, comScore said.
Of tablet users viewing video at least once per month, 26.7% paid for content to watch on their tablets. In addition, 18.9% of tablet users watch video content at least once a week (versus 6.7% for smartphone owners) and 9.5% watch video nearly every day on their device (versus 2.9% among the smartphone crowd). The results are based on a three-month average for the period ending April 2012.
About 68.7 million tablets shipped worldwide in 2011, according to IDC, which forecasts 106.1 million units to ship this year.
"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," comScore senior vice president of mobile Mark Donovan said in announcing the study. "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."
A separate study this spring, commissioned by Viacom, found that tablet owners said 15% of their TV viewing now occurs on the devices. About 22% of cable subscribers with access to a tablet app for video watch full-length TV shows on their tablets, and 24% of Apple AirPlay users and 19% of Netflix users also use the devices to watch full episodes, the Viacom survey found.
ComScore's study found that tablet users skewed noticeably older than smartphone users. Tablet users were 28% more likely to be 65 or older and 27% less likely to be 18-24 than smartphone owners. For both devices, the heaviest overall audience concentration was between the ages of 25-44.
In addition, consumers who use tablets tend to be in higher-income households, indicating the devices are still considered a "luxury good" to many consumers, comScore said. About 56% of tablet owners resided in households with income of $75,000 or greater, compared with 50% of smartphone users.
The findings are excerpted from comScore TabLens, the research firm's forthcoming monthly syndicated service on the U.S. tablet market.
ComScore defines a media tablet as a touch-screen tablet device with at least a 7-inch screen and a data connection but no voice plan. The firm excludes traditional e-reader devices from this definition.