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Ampere: Consumers Watch More Video Than Play Video Games, But Spending Lags

U.S. consumers spend five times longer per day watching video than they do playing games, according to new data from Ampere Analysis. However, gamers spend more money on each hour of gameplay than on each hour of video viewing — particularly when it comes to subscription streaming, with its low all-you-can-watch monthly fee.

Although many gamers play free-to-play games without spending, others spend heavily and frequently, which propels the average consumer revenue per gaming hour into first place versus competing video streaming services. This partially explains why video platforms such as Netflix are turning to games to boost revenue and engagement.

Consumer spending on broadcast TV — largely on pay-TV access — comes in a close second. Subscription VOD services, which typically command lower monthly fees than their cable and satellite counterparts, fall behind.

“Given an individual can no longer consume everything that catches their attention, the rate at which captured minutes are monetized acquires greater significance,” senior analyst Louise Shorthouse said in a statement.

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Shorthouse contends that in terms of consumer spending, gaming offers better returns per hour, and so represents an opportunity for media groups looking at how to monetize their IP efficiently.

Collectively, gaming and video viewing account for roughly six hours of consumer time per day. The average U.S. internet user spends a little over five hours per day watching TV and/or online video, and just under one hour playing video games. Gaming is of course interactive and therefore more mentally and physically taxing than watching video, which typically provides more of a lean-back experience.

Video encompasses an extensive variety of content and themes, meaning it can be shaped to suit a diverse range of consumers. It is ubiquitous, and ever-more accessible thanks to short-form platforms, although the passive nature of video consumption allows other media formats to overlap with it.

“In the past two years, we have seen daily social media usage among gamers and video viewers decline by around 5%,” Shorthouse said. “This coincides with the ongoing growth of games as social platforms, and the evolution of live-streaming services such as Twitch — burgeoning social hubs which may be fulfilling the same needs.”

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