Study: iPods overwhelmingly used for audio, not video | iLounge News


Study: iPods overwhelmingly used for audio, not video

Despite the fifth-generation iPod’s much-touted video capabilities, which were added in October 2005, the device is still mainly used for audio, according to a recent study by Nielsen Media Research. The study found that less than 1% of content played by iPod users on either iTunes or the device itself were videos. Among 5G (video) iPod users, only 2.2% of content played was video. The study also found that 15.8% of iPod users have played a video on either iPod or iTunes. Nielsen monitored a panel of 400 iPod users in the U.S. from October 1-27 for the study.

“Owners of Apple’s ubiquitous portable media device spend far more time on it listening to music or audio podcasts than they do using it to watch TV or movies,” Andrew Wallenstein of The Hollywood Reporter writes. “That was among the findings in an unprecedented preliminary study conducted by the audience-measurement service in October—about one year after a video window was introduced to iPod and its corresponding Internet platform, iTunes. The iPod research conducted by Nielsen is the first publicly available independently published data on consumption habits for the device.”

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I have several theories:

1.  The screen is just too small at this point to warrant prolonged viewing

2.  The video phase is in its infancy and is possibly seen more as a gimmick at this point

3.  iPod was and will always be about music

4.  Habitual changes come gradual

5.  Those nano colors and size have this huge aesthetic appeal that the video iPods do not match and cannot be implemented within the nano

6.  The nano and shuffle are simply more portable and less prone to break

7.  $300 and up may just be a bit much for the general en masse of iPod users to spend at this point

8.  Savvy users are waiting for the real video iPod

Posted by mflat5 on November 20, 2006 at 9:55 AM (CST)


My Comment on MacDailyNews;

I guess I’m not an average user… nor is one of my best friends. If I were to track for one day, I probably watch a good 6 to 7 hours of video on my iPod vs. maybe 1 - 1 1/2 hours of listening to music. As with my friend, we watch video at work most of the day and I only listen to audio in the car… sometimes. With my own video ripping, season passes, and the quickly growing collection of video podcasts I far more prefer video content over strictly audio for day to day stuff. When doing cardio at the gym I’d much rather watch video then listen to music as well.

400 people seems like a very minuscule number of people to base the habits of hundreds of millions of users on.

Posted by LilAlienD on November 20, 2006 at 9:58 AM (CST)


Its very painful to transfer videos to the iPod 5th Gen. I have a lot of DVDs but transferring them takes 2 hrs each. That’s surely a reason for not watching too much video.

Posted by Suraj V on November 20, 2006 at 10:14 AM (CST)


I guess I’m not an average user as well. I rarely listen to music using my ipod. I use my ipod to listen to audio books and videos. I have long commutes to work so I watch videos, TV shows from iTunes and lots of video podcasts. I often travel 5-6 hours by train on weekends so I kill the time watching video. I use an external battery pack (8 AA batteries) to boost my ipod battery video playback life to about 14-15 hours.

Posted by Wherever I Go on November 20, 2006 at 10:22 AM (CST)


I think people are making their search for reasons to explain why less video is watched on the iPod too complicated. It’s very simple. Video requires more attention. I actually have a significant video collection on my iPod, but still use my iPod primarily as a music device. Video is not a great portable medium. I love having video capability, but my iPod is still about the music.

Posted by urbanslaughter on November 20, 2006 at 10:32 AM (CST)


Urbanslaughter got it right. Watching video is an active pursuit (requiring your conscious attention), while listening to music is a passive one (you don’t need to pay attention to music to enjoy it).

Many people can listen to music while they work, while few can watch videos.

Most people can listen to music while they commute (driving), while relatively few can watch videos (usually on public transit).

This is one of the key reasons why the fabled “true video iPod” is just a myth. As cool as it sounds, there just isn’t a large enough market for a device like that.

Personally, I have bought two movies and dozens of TV shows from iTunes, but I happily watch them on my laptop, not an iPod.

Posted by BJ Nemeth on November 20, 2006 at 10:49 AM (CST)


The content of my iPod & iTunes is virtually all non-video. In iTunes 99.91 - 0.09% (audio-video). My iPod is 93 - 5.5%, it would be the same ratio as my iTunes if I had a 400gb iPod.

Yet I use my iPod at about a 70 - 30% ratio audio-video, iTunes about 20 - 80%. This in part because I have to archive video out of my iTunes folder, and because I have over a year of audio, that obviously I don’t listen to.

I suspect rabid collecting and limited drive storage have skewed the results, which should disappear once laptop drives break the terrabyte mark.

Posted by Main User on November 20, 2006 at 11:47 AM (CST)


LilAlienD said…

“...As with my friend, we watch video at work most of the day…”

Can I come and work with you?

Posted by Paul W on November 20, 2006 at 12:11 PM (CST)


I Suppose I’m an average User.
I listen to Music and Podcasts while Commuting, at work and while Nodding off, all on my iPod.

Watching Video requires much more concentration than Listening to Music, and You can drive and listen to Podcasts at the same time without Killing anyone.

It’s also much more pleasant to watch Video on a Large Screen. It’s easier to whip out my iBook when I’m out or watch the Video on a Computer or TV.

Posted by Dan Woods on November 20, 2006 at 2:30 PM (CST)


I have Music Videos on mine and watch them ocasionally but use the music way more.

I like the option of being able to watch video though. Its a nice feature.

Posted by m vallee on November 20, 2006 at 3:56 PM (CST)


Anyone who visits this site is not the average user. Nuff said ;)

Posted by Raph on November 20, 2006 at 4:08 PM (CST)


I watch about 90 minutes a day on mine, but I use the music function from 4-8 hours a day.

Of course like Raph said, none of us are the average user.  :)

I find it’s easier to watch animated stuff on the iPod, like Simpsons or Family Guy or the old X-Men cartoon show.  Watching live action these days is tough since so much is shot in widescreen, which makes everything tiny on that little iPod screen.  It’s perfect for some old eps of Beavis & Butthead though.  :)

Posted by stark23x on November 20, 2006 at 5:17 PM (CST)


Another reason for this could be the much higher “friction” to getting video on the iPod vs. getting MP3’s.

iTunes makes it easy to rip music off of CDs you own to fill your audio library (and of course you can buy more tunes or pirate them from Limewire etc).

But there is no analogy to “ripping” video you already own to get it onto your iPod. Even downloading YouTube stuff is a hassle that the average user won’t put up with.

If you put a regression algorithm on the past years iPod sales and the revenues they generated, the sales mix is fascinating. Roughly 85% iPod Video, 7% Nano, 8% Shuffle.

33 million people spent the extra money for iPod Videos, but according to this study of 400 people they aren’t using them for video. Hmmmmm.. I’d question the study.

Roy Smith

Posted by Roy Smith on November 20, 2006 at 6:20 PM (CST)


I always thought that the video was a bit over the top. I went with a nano 4GB simply for the physical size (I’m into biking). At this point I’m really wishing I had more memory. I’ve been considering buying a refurb video but they’ve been going off and on the site lately. I’m not sure what’s going on. If I do buy a video, chances are I won’t put any video on it at all. Unless I get bored after a year or so. I figure 30GB should last me a while.

Posted by Papa Hobo on November 20, 2006 at 6:58 PM (CST)


Roy Smith—Your numbers on iPod sales are WAY off. I don’t know what the exact percentages are, but the hard drive-based iPods do NOT account for 85% of iPods sold.

According to your numbers (unless I’m seriously misinterpreting your post), Apple sells one $79 iPod Shuffle for every TEN $249 iPods.

It’s also important to remember that it’s not officially called “iPod Video,” because it’s just considered the standard iPod. If you watched Steve Jobs introduce the product a year ago, you noticed how he implied video playback was an extra feature, but the iPod was still primarily about the music. He didn’t market it as a video player, because portable video is still a niche.

It seems that Mr. Jobs understands the market better than all the pundits who keep predicting a bigger, heavier, more expensive “true video iPod.”

Posted by BJ Nemeth on November 20, 2006 at 7:36 PM (CST)


Simple reasons why there aren’t many videos on iPods.

1. iPods are portable devices that people often use while they’re walking or working. When they’re doing these things, they can’t look at the iPod.

2. Small screens on all video iPods. Movies and TV are made for large screens.

3. Unlike music, videos don’t bear that much repeated watching.

Posted by FloydC on November 20, 2006 at 8:01 PM (CST)


News Flash: Cell phones are overwhelmingly used for phone calls, not photography or downloading and listening to music…  duh.

Posted by Matthew on November 20, 2006 at 10:11 PM (CST)


Another misleading study as well as a misleading way to represent results:

The HReporter says: “Even measured by duration of consumption, where 30- or 60-minute TV shows might seem to have a built-in advantage over three-minute songs, video comprises just 2% of total time spent using iPods or iTunes among iPod owners. Video iPod users consume video 11% of the time.”

What is the difference between an iPod user and an Video iPod user? According to another statement in the report, it seems clear that the study had people with non-video iPods in the group. Oh wow, and the number of video usage is low? Astonishing!

The usage of Video iPod users of 11% however sounds pretty different to me - and seems about right. I watch video a few times a week in bed - nothing better than Seinfeld’s Elaine to induce happy dreams.

Posted by Micha10589 on November 21, 2006 at 5:39 AM (CST)


While there is some truth to this “study”, I truly believe that the nano and shuffle’s price points, size and colors dominate the scene rather than bigger, white and more tech-loaded.

Posted by mflat5 on November 21, 2006 at 9:51 AM (CST)


The whole article is misleading. Read this:
“the study also found that 15.8 percent of the studied iPod users had played video on their devices or online at iTunes at one point, despite the fact that one-third of them did not own a video iPod.”

So people have video content on their Nanos? If you consider what little storage Nanos have, you can’t have too many videos before it is full. That’d make me believe that their video library would be small because of storage limitations.
And as for the small percentage of video files on video iPods, that’s probably because
A. People find it confusing to do
B.They have tons of media (mostly) including video, but when compared to music the video to music ratio is small.
c. They don’t want to break the law and rip their dvds, but at the same time refuse to buy movies from iTunes.
There are tons of factors for such low percentages. This article makes it seem as if people don’t use the video function. That’s not true by any means. Besides, they only tested 400 users. How many iPods have been sold? Millions.

Posted by ddsd on November 21, 2006 at 2:00 PM (CST)

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