Michelle Clancy ©RapidTVNews | 04-08-2011

MTV Networks has teamed up with research firm Latitude on the snappily-titled Love ‘Em or Leave ‘Em: Adoption, Abandonment, and the App-Addled Consumer, a thought leadership study that found 83% of participants felt "addicted to apps".
The researchers have found that the rise of the app is changing the way people think, relate, work, and relax — in other words, how we live.

"We learned that apps not only provide small doses of fun, but also offer real emotional and functional value to people’s everyday lives," explains Neela Sakaria, Senior Vice President at Latitude. "People welcome the opportunity for apps to open their eyes to new experiences, skills, and even relationships. This presents a unique opportunity for content providers like MTV Networks and their advertising partners to extend the entertainment experience into deeper realms of relevance and engagement."

Among the key findings were that apps create "Me moments" that advertisers can leverage. In other words, the idea of "me time" has become wrapped up in the intense personalisation and hyper-focus that apps offer, filling idle moments with time for oneself, on demand, in bite-sized chunks. That is being reflected in in-app entertainment and ad experiences that are driven by personal context. 87% of participants agreed "Apps let me have fun no matter where I am or what I’m doing".

Apps also are directly enhancing day-to-day experiences by enabling productivity, achievement of personal goals and so on, and indirectly through the resulting creation of free time, improved mental wellbeing, opportunities for positive discovery, and more. "Apps don’t even have to relieve stress because it’s not even there to begin with; the problem is already solved," said Joe, a 23-year-old study participant. 77% of participants said: "Apps are my personal assistant".

The study also found that the sky's the limit in terms of where users see innovation leading. Whether it’s learning new languages or gazing at the stars, the possibilities seem endless as apps open people’s imaginations to the new. As mobile technology rapidly innovates, people increasingly envision apps as complementing and transforming traditional media experiences into "something new".

91% of participants said: "Apps expose me to new things". The study also uncovered the life-cycle that apps tend to progress through, which can help give direction to mobile developers, content creators, and advertisers, depending on their various goals.

The study included a round of initial qualitative interviews, a deprivation phase (normal app users were asked to go app-free for three days), and a quantitative survey of more than 1,300 app-engaged smartphone owners.