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Tablets are killing consoles in the video streaming market

Published Apr 18th, 2014 12:15PM EDT
Tablets Vs. Laptops Consoles

There’s a major fight brewing in the rapidly growing video streaming market over which device consumers use the most to watch their favorite online content. Game consoles, PC’s and connected devices linked to television sets have all proven somewhat popular… and yet it seems that nothing can stop the tablet juggernaut. 

The latest sign of rapid tablet ascendancy in streaming video consumption comes from the BBC (PDF), which tracks closely the performance of iPlayer, one of the most popular methods to view video content in the United Kingdom. The iPlayer is now generating more than 10 million video requests a day, up from 2.5 million a day in April 2009.

And what is really striking is how much of the demand growth comes from tablets. In February 2013, just 14% of iPlayer video requests originated from tablet devices but by February 2014, that portion had ballooned to 23%. Fascinatingly, even though a new generation of video game consoles had started to arrive at British households by February, the game console portion remained a flat 4% between February 2013 and February 2014.

Consumers are fleeing computers as video consumption vehicles with stunning speed — the PC portion of daily requests has tanked from 47% to 35% in just 12 months. At this rate, tablets are going to form a larger base of British video viewing than PC’s in just a year. Somewhat surprisingly, smartphones’ share of total video requests has grown only tepidly, from 15% to 18% in a year, even as computers go out of vogue.

It seems that as tablet usage proliferates and consumers gain access to multiple tablets per household, they’re using them much more as their personal video consumption devices instead of spreading the wealth around more evenly with consoles.

After launching mobile game company SpringToys tragically early in 2000, Tero Kuittinen spent eight years doing equity research at firms including Alliance Capital and Opstock. He is currently an analyst and VP of North American sales at mobile diagnostics and expense management Alekstra, and has contributed to, Forbes and Business 2.0 Magazine in addition to BGR.