Consumer home entertainment dollars continue to mostly go towards TV, research from Flurry has revealed.
The survey shows that on average, in 2014, an American consumer is paying 64 cents per hour of entertainment on cable TV, compared to just 11 cents on mobile games. That translates to 5.8 times or 482% more for an hour of cable.
"Over the past few years, we have seen mobile and apps invade the American living room and displace television as America's favourite pastime," said Simon Khalaf, president and CEO at the analyst firm, in a blog. "While there is a general agreement that mobile apps are taking minutes from other entertainment channels, including television, there hasn't been much analysis on how dollars are shifting from TV to apps: subscription dollars, advertising dollars, or otherwise. We have conducted an analysis to figure out how consumer dollars have moved and the short answer is: not much. At least not yet."
Because it's the most mainstream and best monetised mobile category, Flurry used mobile games as a proxy for the overall media and entertainment category on mobile.
"It is true that both are still dramatically cheaper than an average of $5 per hour of entertainment at the movie theatre (assuming a $10 USD movie ticket and a 120 minute movie), but you rarely find Americans going to the movies on a daily basis," Khalaf said. "The picture wasn't very different in 2012 and 2013, in which the average American consumer paid 6.4 and 5.8 times more on cable television than mobile games, respectively."
The mobile gaming market is expected to grow to approximately $4.2 billion in 2014 from $3 billion the year before, but the number of mobile gamers in the US has increased from 94 million in 2013 to 108 million in 2014, leading to a relatively flat growth for average cost per user. Second, the time-spent in gaming apps increased from approximately 50 minutes in 2013 to approximately 56 minutes in 2014 (a 12% increase). So while the overall market is expected to grow by $1.2 billion, the per-hour cost only grew by 4.7% from 10.5 cents to 11 cents.
"The good news for the mobile app industry is that, unlike the desktop Web, consumers are already paying for content, mostly in the form of in-app purchases and subscriptions," Khalaf said. "And compared to cable television rates, there is room to grow."