'Digital Omnivores' Devouring Video on Tablets, Study Says

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Research firm Deloitte says 26 percent of the U.S. population over age 14 owns a tablet, smartphone and laptop.

There were 160 percent more “digital omnivores” at the end of last year than there were at the end of 2011, according to a new study Deloitte will release Wednesday.

The research firm defines a “digital omnivore” as someone who owns all three of the dominant, portable digital devices: laptop, smartphone and tablet. Deloitte says that group is now 26 percent of the American populace over age 14, up from 10 percent a year earlier.

Among those devices, tablets, of course, experienced the most dramatic growth, with 36 percent of U.S. households now claiming one, up from 13 percent a year earlier. Smartphones went from 42 percent to 55 percent in the same time frame, and laptops stayed flat at 75 percent.

The rapid growth of tablets means massive growth in video consumption on the devices, as well. Deloitte says tablet owners, for example, stream movies 70 percent more than non-owners.

Deloitte, in fact, asked tablet owners which type of video content they’ll watch more of in the next 12 months, and movies was the No. 1 response with 38 percent. The next biggest was “professionally created Internet content” (25 percent), followed by news (23 percent), user-generated content (22 percent), sports (21 percent), 60-minute TV dramas (18 percent) and 30-minute TV sitcoms (17 percent).

The findings are part of Deloitte’s seventh annual “State of the Media Democracy” survey, which relies on polling data from 2,129 U.S. consumers that was gathered from Nov. 8-21.

The study breaks the American population into five categories, the youngest being “trailing millennials," made up of people ages 14-23. That age group, says Deloitte, increased its viewership of TV shows on smartphones by fivefold year over year and tenfold on tablets.

“The explosion of media-capable devices has had a striking impact on consumer behavior that poses interesting challenges for the entertainment industry and long-standing business models," said Alma Derricks, director of Deloitte Consulting.