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Nielsen: free beats content in mobile video apps

updated 06:30 pm EDT, Mon August 1, 2011

Nielsen shows price wins in mobile video app war

Most people using video apps are concerned more about how much it costs than what it contains, Nielsen said on Monday. A disproportionately large 63 percent of those using apps on iPhones, iPads, Android and elsewhere considered the price "very important" and wanted it either free or with a low subscription. Only 42 to 47 percent were sincerely concerned about what and how much video there was.

Many were more tolerant of ads, as only 39 percent thought that having few to no ads was the crucial factor. The social networking features that video app developers are often keenest to push were the least vital, with most indifferent about the concept.

Along with looking at pure Internet video apps, Nielsen learned that video viewing apps got users more involved with TV shows, not less. A full 85 percent still watched as much TV as before. About 35 percent visited show-related online content more often, and 46 percent felt they were more involved with a show, even if they never went beyond the app.

The study gave the first early feedback on live-synced TV apps and said these improved involvement in a show rather than luring users away. They watched the show more intently and were more likely to pick up on ads. Nielsen's view of this may not be completely objective as it's in some cases involved with the apps, such as an iPad app it co-developed with ABC.

Results of the sort suggest that platforms viewers are likely to get for free, such as YouTube and Vimeo, are most likely to have success on phones and tablets where those based around subscriptions or pay-per-show formulas might struggle. A few notable exceptions exist to the rule such as Netflix, although its content is often considered a 'bonus' for those who watch at home.

Cable and IPTV providers looking at apps such as Time Warner's iPad viewer might also stand to benefit by keeping users watching when they can't or don't want to use a regular TV.

by MacNN Staff



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