The average US consumer spent 198 minutes a day inside apps, not including mobile browsers, compared to 168 minutes watching TV in Q2 2015, according to a new Flurry report (click image below to enlarge).

apps v tv

This is “the first time ever, time spent inside mobile applications by the average US consumer has exceeded that of TV”, the report said.

If time spent using a browser is also taken into account, the total time spent on mobile devices hits 220 minutes per day, almost an hour more than TV.

What’s more, as Simon Khalaf, SVP, product and engineering notes at Flurry notes, it’s hard to quantify how much of the time spent in apps overlaps with time spent on TV, “as the second screen phenomena is clearly prevalent, especially among generations Y and Z”.

This means that “while time spent on TV hasn’t decreased, it is hard to say how much of that time is actual watching, versus having background noise to the plethora of apps being actively consumed on mobile devices”.

He even went as far as to say that given time-spent is the ultimate metric for the media industry, “there is no point for analysts to debate the long term prospects of the cable industry. They’re better off debating its short-term prospects”.

In-app purchases
The study also estimated that revenues from in-app purchases will exceed mobile advertising revenues for the first time this year.

In 2014, app stores generated $21 billion in sales worldwide, while the mobile ad industry generated $23 billion during the same time. This year, Flurry expects in-app purchases to exceed $33 billion and the ad industry (excluding search) to generate $31 billion (click image below to enlarge).

global mobile revsThis is because users are increasingly willing to spend money in apps.

While app stores tended to be dominated by the gaming industry, this year media and entertainment apps such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, Spotify and Pandora have ranked well in the top grossing charts and have ended the gaming industry’s “de-facto monopoly on app stores’ revenues”, the study said.

Traditional media companies can benefit from this by moving their content to apps and streaming it over-the-top, charging consumers for it through the app stores, and still making money from ads, the research suggests.

However, it notes that most of them are reluctant to do so “out of fear that their content needs to be free and ad-supported when streamed, something they are simply not comfortable with.”

“If the content continues to move to apps and streamed over the wire, the cable industry will simply be squeezed and will lose its exclusive position as the sole distribution channel between media companies and US consumers,” warned Khalaf.

The report adds that with Apple’s decision to open up Apple TV to app developers, the cable industry is likely to become even more marginalised.