Who’s Watching/Who’s Shooting – iPod Video & Phone Camera pics

kinnon —  November 21, 2006 — Leave a comment

Ipodblkwreflection-1Everyone wants to watch videos on their portable media device. Right? Wouldn’t that be conventional wisdom. Well, it appears that conventional wisdom is wrong. Nielsen Media Research has done a study that shows that only 1% of all the content viewed on iTunes or the iPod were videos.

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.

Kinnon household anecdotal evidence with only one Video iPod is that very little time is spent using it to watch videos – although Rylan does say he watches a few video podcasts. iTunes software is on all five of our Macs and little to no time is spent watching iTunes hosted videos on any of those computers. A lot more time is spent watching YouTube videos on our computer screens – the links shared amongst us (including Liam in Ottawa and our friends and family around the planet).

Perhaps we’ve been trained to watch moving images together – there is an expectation of interaction with others when we watch TV.  Or perhaps the simple reality is that the screen is too dang small. And those who’ve invested in the device are too proud to admit (to themselves or others) that they’d rather listen to music than use the device to watch visual programming. They might, however, enjoy occasionally using it as a player feeding a larger screen with high quality video – if and when that becomes a reality. (640 by 480 highly compressed video is not my idea of high quality.) Or to feed eyewear displays as they become less bulky and more reasonable in price.

My Camera is a Phone. My Phone is a Camera.
And what of the seemingly ubiquitous phone cams? Well research suggests they are becoming the primary digital still capture device for a significant number of people –  according to the CEA.

The digital imaging industry continues to thrive with more image and video devices in the hands of consumers than ever before according to a study by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA®). CEA’s Digital Imaging Study Update: Sharing and Storing Photos and Video II, found that cell phones now account for nine percent of primary still image capture, which is more than double the 2005 rate. The study also found that the digital camera category is nearing maturity and will soon heavily rely on customer upgrades.

Tim Herbert, senior director of market research at CEA, said, "Among consumers who now classify their cell phone as their primary image capture device, 47 percent also own a digital camera. Consumers have yet to significantly engage in the practice of substituting devices, but rather use devices in a complementary manner. As cell phones progress to 3+ megapixels, offer greater storage and more features, this trend may change.

You can draw your own conclusion from these two reports.

W810I-FrontI’m convinced they point to more people wanting a single device that  takes great pictures, plays great tunes, provides telephony and might even be able to feed video to an external monitor/eyeware display – along with connecting to the net for email & web access. My oft mentioned W810i is almost there – the 2MP camera doesn’t quite cut it and it doesn’t have the horsepower or storage for real video playback. But I have used it for pictures on this blog, use it for email daily, regularly listen to tunes on it (although the iTunes DRM does make that a bit of a pain) and occasionally make a phone call with it. Perhaps a combination of the photo/video characteristics of the Nokia N93 and the audio playing capabilities of the N91 would get us a little closer to the right device. UPDATE: Or as Rylan just pointed out to me, the Nokia N95 "multimedia computer" might be the answer – 5MP Camera, Carl Zeiss lens, GPS, good media player, "DVD" quality video…hmmm. Oh, and it also does the telephony thing. Perhaps Rylan would like to buy my W810i

Maybe my question should be, "So Steve, where’s the iPhone?" (If the iPhone only has a rumoured 2MP camera, then they’ve missed the boat.)

UPDATE: Palm CEO Ed Colligan‘s not afraid of the big, bad iPhone:

He pointed out that his firm has "struggled" to make a decent phone, and slammed market expectations that the usability and technology experts at Apple could "just walk in" to the market.

"PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in," he said.

However, critics are already pointing out that Palm uses Windows Mobile to power its phones, software made by ‘PC guys’.

Ed, Ed. Apple isn’t the competition. Nokia, Sony-Ericsson, Samsung, LG are.

Other recent posts on this topic:
Zune: Maybe It Plays for Sure
Why Speculating on Zune’s Success is the Wrong Question
Death of a Cell Phone, Death of the iPod

AND: Stay tuned for achievable media, coming in December – where Bill’s focus on media & technology will find it’s new home.

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A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

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