iPad Puts Mobile Video in Focus

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Apple’s newly launched iPad was all
the rage last week. As of last Thursday (April 8), the
company reportedly had sold more than 450,000 of
the 9.7-inch-screen gadgets since its April 3 launch.
Last Th ursday, during the Discovery
Communications upfront presentation,
queen of all media Oprah Winfrey
informed hundreds of advertising and
cable executives that she now has one
of the coveted devices.

As expected, numerous cable networks
— including MTV, Discovery
Channel and The Weather Channel —
wanted in on the hype and announced
the creation of iPad apps that would sync
their brand up with the popular gadget.
Given the results of a recent Horowitz
Associates study regarding consumers’
proclivity for watching video via handheld mobile
devices, it’s probably a shrewd move.

Before the iPad even hit the stores, nearly one-third
of consumers owning mobile devices could
watch video on those iPods, cellphones and Play-
Station Portable (PSP) devices, and about 14% of
those consumers were watching video content
each month, according to a recent Horowitz Associates
study on the state of cable and digital media.
African-American and Hispanic consumers trend
slightly higher, with 20% of consumers in each of
those segments viewing video programming on
handheld devices, according to the study.

While music videos and You Tube content make
up the lion’s share of video viewing on
portable devices, nearly 10% of all video
viewing is of television shows from cable
and broadcast networks, according
to the Horowitz study.

The iPad, with its larger screen, could
accelerate those numbers, providing a
more pleasurable experience for consumers
than trying to watch MTV’s Jersey
Shore on a 6-inch iPod screen.

Disney/ABC’s iPad app already provides
free-to-consumer, ad-supported
episodes of around 20 ABC series, including
Lost and Grey’s Anatomy, as well
as full episodes of popular Disney Channel and Disney
XD series Hannah Montana, Wizards of Waverly
Place, The Suite Life on Deck and Phineas & Ferb.

That’s above and beyond the hundreds of cable
and broadcast network choices available to iPad
users via Apple’s iTunes store.

While consumers overwhelmingly still prefer to
watch their favorite television shows on the boob tube,
the iPad could help drive even more TV fans to watch
content on the subway as well as from the sofa.