Apps = The New TV?

The Appetizer

At the AppFronts that took place recently, a panel led to the following conclusion: that apps are the new TV, citing the increased and comparative usage time-wise amongst app usage vs TV viewing by consumers.  What this means is that, according to the panelists, in the near future, more people will prefer to interact with an app instead of using a television.

The Main Course

The Dessert

You have to take into account that the opinions being expressed are those of app developers only.  If it was a panel that included a mix of both tv and app developers, that would be different.

While it does bring up a good comparison in terms of where consumers are spending most of their time, it is not a fair comparison.  Now, if the argument was traditional video (TV) viewing vs video viewing via apps, that is where it would be on a more level playing field.  If that discussion took place, however, then traditional TV would end up winning.

However, when it comes to apps as a whole, consumers are going to use apps more often because they can go with them wherever they are, and they have more functionality than traditional TV.  Traditional TV is meant for viewing, apps have that capability and much more.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the argument and why it is being stated, but if you are going to make that statement as justification as to why, for instance, advertisers/investors, should pay more attention to apps than TV, then you also have to factor in the amount of app options that exist.  There are hundreds of thousands.  Cannot say the same for traditional TV.  As a result, the market is more fragmented.  Additionally, the market is easier to get into, leading to competition for consumer attention being much higher than it is on traditional TV.  Then factor in that with apps, people are, for the most part, able to customize exactly which ones they have on their devices, where as with Traditional TV (including satellite and cable subscriptions), consumers must select from bundles based on what has already be selected for them, greatly reducing their ability to customize their options.

What that means overall is that while apps, as a whole, may be used more, the market is a lot more fragmented and challenging for newcomers to rise up in and maintain relevancy.  This makes it a very different beast than traditional TV, so again, to place them in the same boat for comparison, it just doesn’t fit.  The same aspect of TV that makes it very frustrating for consumers (lack of customization) is the same thing that makes it more beneficial for an advertiser/investor- because they have more guarantee that their investment will receive some form of attention by their target audience as long as they are with the right distribution company.

Now the steady of rise of programmatic buying and IPTV based-TV services may change all of this, allowing for traditional TV services to be more customizable without sacrificing their potential revenue generation, and being more in line with an app approach; but for now, the worlds are too different from each other.

The Overall Meal

3 Stars

The Doggybag

Do you think the observation is a fair comparison, or is there another side to this that may be getting overlooked?

Please place your response below. Let the convos begin!


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