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Google Glass Primed for Entertainment, Adobe Report Finds

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In one of the first independent studies of Google Glass, and as part of research into U.S. consumer TV Everywhere habits, Adobe has found that the device is used predominantly to access media and entertainment.

The Adobe Digital Index is based on aggregated and anonymous data from over 600 media and entertainment sites, 22.5 billion online video starts, half a billion video starts from mobile devices, and 574 million TV Everywhere streams. All data is from U.S. internet use.

In a related blog post, Adobe says Google Glass looks to be heading for use as a media-consumption device rather than as a shopping device. In fact, it says, web sites seeing the most browsing time on Google Glass are media and entertainment (54 percent) with sports driving the largest share. By contrast, browsing retail sites registered a lowly 3 percent.

Adobe references a USA Today report which revealed that sales of wearable devices are up nearly 2000 percent, largely driven by the fitness category. Eyewear tech, such as Google Glass, shows small penetration (less than 1 percent) at this point, but Google Glass is the fastest-growing web access device, up 8 times in just the past 5 months.

 “As devices such as Google Glass grow their sales, they will have an impact on online video viewing,” surmises the Adobe blog post. “Broadcasters will bring TV Everywhere to these devices and create new cross-broadcast, augmented reality ad formats. It’s not impossible to imagine that by the 2016 Rio Olympics, your office mates will be walking around wearing a device watching streaming video while you think they are working.”

Adobe's stats could have something to do with the fact that many of the most high-profile adopters of Google Glass in its initial 30,000 allocation are from the media, trumpeting the technology's potential in delivering news, as a news reporting tool, or for in-stadium sports enhancement.

However, the finding chimes with other key trends from Adobe's quarterly report on the consumption of media over connected devices.

The study indicates a remarkable rise in media access via games consoles, resulting in part from the pre-Christmas introduction of next-gen hardware from Sony and Microsoft. Games are the fastest growing video consumer device rising at a rate of 365 percent year-over-year, the report states.

Smartphones also increased their share of OTT video consumption (from 28 percent in the third quarter of 2013 to 31 percent in the fourth quarter), while tablet's share somewhat surprisingly dropped 10 percent in the last quarter.

Adobe concludes from this that smartphones have become the device of choice for mobile video viewing, due in part to the trend of watching sporting highlights in snippets on small screens. It advises marketers to ensure that video content is optimized for smartphones.

The research identified sports as the key content for online viewing, registering a 640 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2013 compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. During the same period, streaming of all video content grew 440 percent.

Sport counts for 37 percent of all TV everywhere viewing, Adobe found, of which live sports is by the far the main draw. One quarter of all sports video content is viewed on mobile devices now (up 73 percent year-over-year). Sport is also number one for authenticated viewing.

"TV Everywhere audiences are tuning in primarily for sporting events -- and the majority of them are watching from their Apple devices," states the Adobe Digital Index. iOS devices account for nearly 50 percent of play requests for TV Everywhere content; Roku and gaming consoles produce 5 percent of them.

Adobe's advice: With over half of traffic coming from Apple devices and desktops, advertisers should target ads toward the more affluent crowd that uses these products.

Although the majority of video starts come from direct traffic to a branded site, Adobe's report finds that social media referrals are on the rise.

Tumblr and Facebook are producing nearly identical video view rates with over one-third of referred visits producing a video start, the study says. Again sports trumps TV with half of visits referred from networks to sports-related sites translating into a video view.

The logical conclusion is for brands to continue to incorporate video into Facebook and other niche social sites such as Tumblr to improve overall consumer engagement.

"Online video viewing continues to proliferate to mobile, gaming consoles, and apps," says the Adobe Digital Index. "The explosion of TV Everywhere authenticated content, integration of video into social channels, and increase of mobile video viewing has created a unique opportunity to reach new viewers who can’t be found on traditional TV channels."

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