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July 2015

DEFY VidCon – It Was a Carnival Within A Carnival!

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It was a Carnival at this year’s DEFY VidCon!  The video industry annual confab was even bigger this year and so was our footprint. From the growing crowds to increasing press coverage – topped off by SMOSH’s walk on their own red carpet the same week with the world premiere of their first movie –  there’s no doubt that digital has made its mark on the mainstream.  Our expanded lounge space drew even more buzz as the best spot in the convention center to find a needed respite from the usual Con frenzy and where top creators, industry players and press had the chance to connect, converse and re-charge. Our carnival had all the trappings from the requisite SMOSH Games arcades and skeetball, Screen Junkies snacks, and Clevver’s spin the wheel to brand partners like SONY Project Morpheus and Universal Studios joining the fun to preview upcoming products and projects and leverage the power of our YouTube influencers. Adding to the festivities, Madame Tussauds took the opportunity to show off the just revealed SMOSH wax figures (first ever YouTubers!) which had guests literally jumping for joy to be part of the photo opp.

And, more evidence of the traditional and digital lines blurring – finding film star Mark Ruffalo in the DEFY lounge with his tweenage son hoping to meet his favorite celebs SMOSH and SMOSH Games. We were happy to oblige.

Congrats to all those who worked so hard to make DEFY Vidcon ‘15 another success. See you in ’16.

Social Media’s Popularity Contest

By | Acumen Insights | No Comments

A report from Frank N. Magid Associates found the portion of 13- to 17-year-old social-media users on Facebook slipped to 88 percent this year, from 94 percent in 2013 and 95 percent in 2012. In the same period, Twitter and messaging applications rose in popularity with Twitter usage climbing to 48 percent. While more people use Facebook and its messaging app than any competitor, its user base tends to be older with 55 percent of Facebook Messenger users being 37 or younger. By the same measure, 86 percent of Snapchat users and 83 percent of Kik users are under 37.


One reason for the decline in teen Facebook usage is concern that the service may not be trustworthy. Among those polled 16 percent said Facebook was trendy, 18 percent said it was fun and 16 percent said it was informative; just 9 percent said it was safe and 9 percent said it was trustworthy. Almost 30 percent of teens said they would use those words to describe Pinterest, and 40 percent ranked Pinterest as “fun” a full 22 percent higher than Facebook.

Online All the Time for Multicultural Teens

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According to a study from The Pew Research Center, 92 percent of teens ages 13 to 17 report going online daily, including 24 percent who say they go online “almost constantly.” Fifty-six percent of teens go online several times a day and 12 percent report once-a-day use; just 6 percent of teens report going online weekly and 2 percent go online less often. Much of this abundance of access is facilitated by smartphones; nearly three-quarters of teens have a smartphone while just 12 percent say they have no cell phone of any type. Ninety-one percent of teens go online from mobile devices at least occasionally, and 94 percent of these mobile teens go online daily or more often, compared with 68 percent of teens who do not use mobile devices to go online.


The study found Internet usage varies by race; African-American and Hispanic youth report going online with greater frequency than white teens. One-third of African-American (34 percent) and Hispanic (32 percent) teens report going online “almost constantly” compared to only 19 percent of white teens. White teens are more likely to say they go online several times a day — the most commonly expressed frequency of Internet access across all groups. Youth from higher income families go online more frequently than youth from less wealthy households; 93 percent of teens from homes earning more than $30,000 annually go online daily compared with 86 percent of those from households earning $30,000 or less.

Not Your Father’s Game Console

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Nielsen found the U.S. video game console audience is spending more console time on non-gaming activities such as watching TV and Blu-ray discs, streaming video, and exploring the Internet. In fact offline gaming accounts for only half of the time spent on consoles.


As the popularity of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime have increased, so has video viewing on gaming consoles. For example, 51 percent of Xbox users watch video-on-demand and online subscription video on their systems up from only 26 percent of Xbox users in 2010; Sony platforms show a similar trend.


Console sales have grown over the past year as manufacturers market both the gaming and non-gaming capabilities of these devices. Nonetheless gaming remains the primary activity on these devices with more than 80 percent of users playing games on their systems. But console gamers are spending more time playing online games; for example Nintendo Wii users who game online rose from 27 percent of owners in 2010 to 50 percent in 2014.

Size Matters When Viewing Video

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A study from Nielsen reveals how device proliferation and social-media interactions are giving viewers greater power over how, when, and where they watch. Sixty-three percent say time-shifted programming better accommodates their schedule and 58 percent say they often catch up with programming by watching several episodes on the same day; only 48 percent prefer to watch live video programming.


In terms of platform, viewers weigh size against convenience. Fifty-one percent think the biggest screen is the best screen for watching video programming, while 37 percent say watching video programming on their mobile device is convenient. Television screens are more preferred for sporting events (59 percent), news shows (73 percent), documentaries (71 percent) and movies (74 percent). Short-form videos are the exception with 64 percent preferring to watch this type of content on a computer versus only 6 percent preferring a television screen.

Video Watching by Generation

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A study by Nielsen shows that across the globe Generation Z (under 20) and Millennials (21-34) are more likely than their older counterparts to use multiple devices to watch video. In-home use of mobile phones and computers is particularly high among the youngest consumers. Forty-two percent of Millennials and 38 percent of Generation Z who watch video at home say they use their mobile phones, compared with 30 percent of Generation X (35-49), 18 percent of Baby Boomers (50-64), and 6 percent of the Silent Generation (over 65).

But the generations use mobile phones at almost equal rates when watching outside the home. Sixty-six percent of Generation X and Baby Boomers watch video on their commute to-and-from work or school, as do 65 percent of Millennials and 64 percent of Generation Z; the rate for the Silent Generation is lower at 56 percent. The pattern is similar for those who watch video while shopping; 74 percent of Baby Boomers, 70 percent of the Silent Generation, 66 percent of Generation X and Millennials, and 65 percent of Generation Z.

Back-to-School Spending 2015

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A study from Rubicon Project found technology occupies a major portion of parents’ back-to-school spending for 2015. The average parent estimates they spend close to $400 on technology alone, and 20 percent of parents say they purchase technology to meet classroom needs or requirements. The study found tablets in particular to be a popular technological purchase and—despite the fact that 50 percent of K-8 children currently have a tablet—44 percent of parents plan to purchase one for their K-8 child in preparation for the upcoming school year.

When parents shop is driven by discounts; 61 percent of parents say store sales and promotions are the top determinate of when they conduct their back-to-school shopping. And digital ads can shape purchasing decisions; one-quarter of parents have clicked on a digital ad in the past week and nearly two out of ten parents have made a purchase in the past week based on an ad. More than 26 percent of college parents have clicked on an ad within the past day and 24 percent of college parents have made a purchase in the past 24 hours based on a mobile ad.