Streaming media on smartphones on the rise: MTM

Smartphone owners are consuming more content than the rest of Canadians, on and off their devices, according to the new report.

As more Canadians get smartphones, more of them are using the devices to access streaming audio and video, according to a report from Media Technology Monitor.

The Streaming Media on Smartphones report is based on a survey of 4,009 English-speaking Canadian adults who were asked what kind of media they had streamed on their smartphones within the previous month. While the majority of smartphone users still do not use their devices to access streaming audio, video or television, all categories saw significant growth in 2013.

Smartphone penetration continues to rise in Canada, with 66% of English-speaking Canadians now owning a smartphone, up from 55% in 2012 and 41% in 2011.

Of all smartphone users, 35% said that they use their device to stream video content, up from 27% last year and the first time the MTM report has reported growth in the category since 2010. The video streaming rate across all English-speaking Canadians including non-smartphone users is 23%.

While the numbers for video are high, only 18% of smartphone users and 12% of Canadians in general say that they watch television programs on their phone, although that still represents growth compared to years past. The numbers suggest that screen size may be a contributing factor to this: those who owned both were more likely to stream television on the larger screens of their tablet instead of on their smartphone.

The report also reveals that smartphone users consume more media in general, across all types of devices. On an average week:

  • Smartphone users watch nine hours of online video, compared to five for the typical Canadian.

  • Those who use their phones to watch TV programs watch an average of nearly 22 hours, compared to 18 for the typical Canadian.

  • Those who use smartphones to listen to music, podcasts, news and other audio content listen to 18 hours, compared to just under 14 for the typical Canadian.

  • Even with numerous streaming services at their fingertips, smartphone users who stream audio listen to over two hours of content a week from AM and FM radio stations, compared to one hour for the rest of Canadians. 41% of those who said they use their smartphone to stream audio said they do so through traditional radio stations.

Audio streaming on smartphones in general also saw growth in 2013: 33% of smartphone users surveyed said they stream audio on their device, up from 29% in 2012, while the national rate is 22%.

The most commonly used service for music streaming, oddly enough, was YouTube, beating out personalized services like Rdio and Songza. However, smartphone users were far more likely to use those services: 58% of them compared to 31% of all those who only stream music on their computer.

As one might expect, younger users were more likely to utilize streaming media services. Half of users in the audio and video categories and a third of those in the television category were in the 18- to 34-year-old range.

The biggest market for media streaming was Calgary, topping other major cities in usage of audio and video and reaching a tie with Edmonton in television. The lowest was Montreal, the only major market to fall at or below the national average in all three categories.

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