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Are you Sleeping with your Tablet?


I guess I’m not alone.

It turns out that the bedroom is the most popular place to use an iPad.  So says research revealed by Interpret at the VARIETY Entertainment & Technology conference this week in Los Angeles.

69% of those surveyed report that the bedroom is the prime spot for using a tablet, which may go against conventional wisdom that suggests “mobile” viewing is done outside the home.

While I use my iPad as a “second screen” to gather information while watching TV (as do a lot of people), my bedtime reading on an iPad is usually spent surfing for fun on eBay, catching up on interesting articles, or checking the weather for tomorrow.

Tablet ownership has doubled in the past year, according to Interpet.  The Consumer Electronics Association recently reported similar numbers, also noting that nearly two-thirds of Americans now own smartphones.

Just like the iPad has is changed the way everyday people compute, Hollywood studio executives are also fans of the technology.  The Paramount Pictures Film Group President calls the iPad “revolutionary” because he can now review scripts and dailies easily.

Of course, Apple’s iPad isn’t the only thing driving interest in tablets.  Similar Android devices, and Amazon’s Android-powered Kindles, are fueling the tablet fire.  In fact, the smaller tablets – including the iPad mini and Google Nexus 7 – are popular because they’re easier to hold in one hand, and also easier on the wallet.

New devices are coming later this year that add over-the-air TV channels to the tablet, and the market continues to shift to smaller screens and smaller prices.

And it’s not just eBooks and web surfing that are drawing the interest of consumers.  As one panelist at the VARIETY conference noted, “go tap a 16 year old on his shoulder and ask him what he watches.  You’ll be surprised,” because younger people are consuming content on YouTube like there’s no tomorrow.

Movie studios are paying attention, and investing in these small companies because they are able to reach niche audiences.

Gaming is an essential ingredient for many of the new YouTube channels, and for creative storytellers.  “Television is cracking,” remarked one VARIETY panelist, and “traditional ratings systems are having trouble.”

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So what’s the “one big thing” that may surprise the entertainment industry?

Those “in the know” about movies, TV and gaming told a packed room at the Ritz Carlton Marina del Rey this week that the next big thing could be:

  • The “Gamification” of TV, creating experiences that interact with what you’re watching;
  • TV Shows that use Second Screen (there’s the tablet, again) to keep viewers engaged;
  • Binge viewing (or watching several episodes of a TV series season back-to-back, which is easily done on Netflix);
  • The ability to change commercials broadcast based on WHO is watching on any given night, or in any given hour;
  • Solving the “Recommendations” problem.  “The TV Guide is antiquated” and existing algorithms for “search recommendations” do not work well.

About the Author
Dave Arland is a 22-year veteran of the consumer electronics industry, working now to promote digital satellite services and broadcast mobile TV. He played a key role in the introduction of HDTV, mp3 audio, and electronic books. He runs Arland Communications, a full-service Public Relations & Communications agency from offices in Carmel, Indiana.

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