Sunday, May 22, 2011

BIG’s Blog: Tablets

Now, admit it, how many of you, when you first heard about the iPad, either: A) didn’t get it, B) thought it was a stupid idea when you finally first saw it, or C) both A and B?

I admit that I was in the 'C' category. When I heard about the iPad and first saw it, I thought of it as a laptop computer but without the key board and mouse. Okay, I could see that with the touchscreen you didn’t need the mouse, but, I couldn’t get beyond tapping out my blogs instead of typing them out. My paradigm was my laptop computer.

I completely didn’t get it.

Neilson, the company that, among other things, tracks what TV shows we watch and consumer product penetration, came out with the figure that 4.8% of consumers in the U. S. own a tablet as of the first calendar quarter of 2011. The number in the fourth quarter of 2010 was 3.4% and this shows remarkable growth since the iPad launched in April of 2010.

But, even more impressive than the growth is that of usage or engagement. Not only are people spending significantly more for tablets ($600+) than e-reader devices (such as Kindle or Nook) or netbooks (small laptop computers), but, the time they spend on their tablets via news apps for instance as reported by studies done by news outlets like The Economist and others shows significantly higher engagement times, 30 to 40 minutes per session compared to the same readers going to their Web site.

Tablets are evolving as media consumption devices that have a completely different sensibility than the Web browser on your computer that was developed by engineers for mostly non-media work – who thought of YouTube in the 1980s. And as a platform for the exploding development of apps, it marks a clear separation from the Web site experience.

And, just as news outlets, and now media companies like Discovery and Bravo, are building separate versions of their interface specifically designed to take advantage of the superior media experience of the tablets, so too nonprofit fund raisers need to think beyond the Web site. Why? Because this is how the people you want to reach are consuming media and are spending more and more time when they engage. And the ability to engage via multiple media in presenting not only your story, but your ongoing work and updates, offers engagement at levels not even thought possible by nonprofits.

It’s almost like your own cable channel.

Now there’s a thought.


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