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A time to read, a time to view: the iPad invades TV prime time

Posted: January 14, 2011 at 10:07 am 1 Comment »
Yesterday, PaidContent pointed up new research from social bookmarking service ReadItLater (NB one of a number of services worth checking out ahead of the great Delicious exodus) that suggests that web-reading might be taking over “personal prime time”.

The study involved 100 million articles bookmarked using the service, and looked at when these artcles were actually read across a range of devices. On computer, it seems, they were read throughout the day, while mobile devices were used to access the content mainly during commutes. The graph above, showing reading on the iPad, is the most intruiging: the biggest time for reading is 8pm-10pm, or personal prime time.

ReadItLater’s report defines PPT as follows:

This is generally the most relaxing time of day.  After a long day, work is done, dinner is resting in your belly and there is nothing left to do but put your feet up and relax.  This time slot is the same one coveted by television.  When the majority of people are consuming content it seems perfectly natural that people would use this time to do their reading as well.

Ofcom’s most recent Communications Market Report (2010) shows the extent to which this space is currently owned by TV.

Amid endless social media hype, the extent to which TV remains the dominant medium is often underplayed – although there is such debate about TV’s role that not even key authorities agree.

ReadItLater’s stats  might suggest that Jobs’s vision for the iPad is coming to pass. But we should note that those stats are drawn from a demographic that could loosely be defined as “the-kind-of-people-likely-to-use-little-known-social-bookmarketing-services” – or, possibly, “the-kind-of-media-consumer-likely-to-spend-A-LOT-of time-with-their-iPad”. Ofcom’s research shows how far this consumer is from the mainstream.

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