Several times a week, nearly 23 million people stop what they're doing and tune in to watch "American Idol". "Dancing with the Stars" and "NCIS" come in just under 20 million viewers. And then there are social games on iOS, the operating system behind the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, which attract 19 million users, according to the latest statistics by analytics firm Flurry.
Flurry points to iOS games, and apps in general, as the next direction for advertisers, citing the recent slump in television advertising. Appropriately, the stat of 19 million users is for "a daily audience of more than 19 million who spend over 22 minutes per day using these apps". The average half-hour long sitcom airs about 22 minutes of footage, so these 19 million users are spending an equal amount of time with an app that they would otherwise with a sitcom episode.
The Flurry blog post suggests that this is only part of the picture, as the firm only accounts for one fifth of the 250,000 apps in the App Store. "Additionally, since this analysis focuses on only two categories of applications, social games and social networking apps," the company asserts, "it's clear that iOS devices are already ahead of prime time television's hottest shows." The bigger point, according to Flurry, is that these apps are accessible at any time, year-round, and their users can therefore be reached by advertisers 15 times more frequently.
The only thing we wonder about is the linear nature of television. While many people have access to DVR and can simply skip the commercials, what about the rest who are stuck watching television broadcasts in real-time? Are those advertisements catching a more captive audience than the iPhone user? Or does the high click-through rate of iPhone users more than make up for any difference and make a similarly-sized audience even more valuable?