Special report: How we really use our camera phones

You didn’t need the latest wave of selfie sticks to know that personal media on mobile devices is huge. People are taking photos and videos all the time, and Instagram and Vine have become the new social media darlings. But take a closer look at personal media, and you’ll start to notice some very interesting differences.

iOS users for example are on average taking a lot more photos than Android users, and women are a lot more into collecting visual memories than men. Personal media startup Magisto has been noticing very distinct differences for some time, and recently, the company gathered and shared some of its data and insights exclusively with Gigaom. The results are surprising, and a must-read for anyone building products for personal media or social online.

Now, it’s worth noting that Magisto’s data is somewhat self-selective. The company makes an app that helps you to turn your everyday snapshots and video clips into short, shareable videos, complete with soundtracks and visual effects. It’s safe to assume that people who don’t take any photos at all wouldn’t download Magisto to begin with. However, the company decided to look only at new users to exclude any feedback effects of users taking more photos or videos specifically because they’ve been using the app. Altogether, Magisto analyzed the personal media habits of 66,000 iOS and Android users worldwide for this report.


First things first: We really do take a lot of photos. The average user takes 150 new photos during a given month, according to Magisto. That’s about 5 photos a day. Video capturing, on the other hand, is still a lot less prevalent, with users taking on average just 7.5 videos during a given month. In other words, for every single video recorded, people take on average 20 photos. And most of these videos are pretty short: Those 7.5 clips make up just 7 minutes of footage combined.


People don’t just take a lot of photos every month, they also like to collect them and carry them around for some time. The average user has 630 photos and 24 videos stored on their mobile device, with those videos again just amounting for 23 minutes of footage total. Apparently, very few people like to record their very first full-length feature films with their phones.

But these are just worldwide averages, across different device platforms, age groups and gender lines. Dive down a little deeper, and you’ll start to see a lot of very different usage patterns. Let’s begin with one of the biggest lines dividing us as a people: iOS vs. Android.


iOS users take 65 percent more photos during any given month that their Android counterparts: The average iOS user takes 182 photos per month, while Android users only take 111 photos on average. That discrepancy continues when you look at the size of camera rolls on both platforms: The average iOS device holds 2.3 times as many photos as the average Android device.

There are a number of possible explanations for this. One is that the Android ecosystem doesn’t just include $600 flagship phones, but also very cheap devices, some of which can be had for $50 or less with a prepaid plan. These lower-end devices typically come with a lot less internal storage, which impacts their owners’ abilities to capture personal media. You just won’t take 180 photos a month if your phone constantly complains about running out of storage.

One could also argue that Apple has historically done a great job at making iPhone photos look good, which encourages people to take more photos. Again, some of the more expensive Android flagship phones also take beautiful pictures, but a cheaper Android handset may not.


One’s choice of mobile operating system isn’t the only factor that influences personal media habits — our gender has a lot to do with it as well: Women take on average 47 percent more photos than men, whereas men take 15 percent more videos than women. And the biggest photo lovers are female iPhone users under the age of 25, taking an average of 250 photos per month.

Finding a good explanation for this may be even harder than explaining why iOS users take more photos than Android users (and your chances of offending someone are equally as high), but this discrepancy explains a lot with regards to the types of social and user-generated services popular online today. Just think of Pinterest, one of the most visual social content platforms online, whose user base is reportedly 80 percent female.

The slight male dominance in video recording is also interesting, as it could point to a perception problem for video that may have to do with the way it’s currently being presented in capturing and editing apps. Or maybe it’s just long-ingrained collective gender stereotypes. Just think back to your family parties back in the 1990s or even the ’80s, long before everyone recorded everything with smart phones. That cousin dramatically crawling on the floor with a camcorder in one hand to get the best shot? Likely a guy.

And just for the record: Male Android users take the least amount of photos, with an average of just 90 photos per month.


All of those numbers are global averages, but there are also interesting regional differences. Magisto didn’t share too much of this data with us — the company does have competitors, after all — but it highlighted one interesting outlier: Mobile users in Japan capture a lot more media than anyone else.

The average Japanese camera roll contains 1,500 photos and videos, which is 2.3 times the global average. As in the rest of the world, women under 25 who use iPhones once again capture the most photos — they are just taking even more snapshots than their counterparts in the rest of the world. On average, young female iOS users in Japan take more than 300 photos a month – that’s about ten every single day.

Maybe the rest of the world will catch up to this behavior in the coming years — but it’s likely that differences along gender lines as well as mobile platforms will continue to be a factor for some time, giving startups some cues which users to concentrate one, or even which challenges to tackle in order to close these gaps.

Images and additional reporting by Biz Carson.

Is photo app EyeEm taking on mission impossible?

The market for photography apps and photo sharing services is crowded beyond belief, ranging from trendy startups like Instagram to heavily-funded monsters such as Color. So why does Berlin-based EyeEm think it can make an impact? And can it succeed?

YouTube Users Upload 48 Hours of Video Every Minute

YouTube’s users now upload more than two full days worth of video per minute, the video sharing site announced on its blog today. The announcement coincides with another usage record, as YouTube is now also seeing more than three billion video views per day.

fizwoz Lets You Put a Price on UGC News Clips

Following CNN’s debut of an iPhone app that lets users record video of breaking news events and submit them to the 24-hour news channel, fizwoz now wants to help you get some money for your work.

Launching today, fizwoz is an online marketplace for UGC photos and video of newsworthy events. After you download a free app for your smart phone, if you find yourself at the scene of a crash, crumbling or other breaking news, and your first inclination is to take footage rather than help out, you capture a picture or a video and upload it directly to fizwoz. Once there, you can slap a price tag on it and put the content up for auction where media outlets vie and ideally buy your image or clip (with fizwoz taking a cut).


It should be noted that fizwoz only works with video from smart phones — specifically the iPhone, Blackberry and Windows Mobile 6.0 right now. This is, in part, to ensure that users are uploading content they have the rights to. The app itself verifies that content was indeed shot with the phone’s camera.

“Media companies are encouraging people to send photos and videos,” fizwoz founder and CEO, Andy Sheldon told us in an interview, “You get — at best — bragging rights.” The way Sheldon sees it, if big news outlets are going to make money off of your work, why shouldn’t you?

Read More about fizwoz Lets You Put a Price on UGC News Clips

Success Proves Slippery for Microsoft’s Soapbox

Microsoft (s MSFT) is pulling back on Soapbox, the UGC site the company launched in 2006, creating another video victim lost in the wake of YouTube’s (s GOOG) success. Our initial reaction when reading this news was, “Oh yeah, Soapbox, forgot all about that,” which basically sums up its also-ran position in the online video landscape.

CNET reports that Microsoft is looking to transform Soapbox from a limp UGC free-for-all to a site where bloggers and citizen journalists can post videos relevant to categories like lifestyle, entertainment and finance, three areas Microsoft focuses on. But the future of the video site isn’t certain. Microsoft Vice President Erik Jorgensen told CNET, “We haven’t decided whether you just continue to support it or whether it is too expensive and out of our focus to do.”

YouTube continues to dominate the user-generated space, and has gobbled up such a huge chunk of the market that much of its early competition has thrown in the towel. Microsoft is just the latest in a string of competitors to scale back on or get out of the UGC game entirely. AOL (s TWX) stopped supporting user uploads last year. Last month, Crackle (formerly Grouper) cut off its user upload program and Metacafe killed its Producer Reward program. Both of those sites now have more of an emphasis on professionally produced content.

Vid-Biz: Digital Power List, Tremor Media, IPTV

The Digital Power 2009 List; among the 50 execs chosen by The Hollywood Reporter are Hulu’s Jason Kilar, News Corp.’s Jon Miller, and Felicia Day. (The Hollywood Reporter)

Tremor Media Unveils New Video Ad Format; the showcase unit first shows a 10- to 15-second clip and then users can decide if they want to watch more. (MediaWeek)

IPTV Set Top Market Cooling Off; though the sector grew 55 percent in 2008, fewer new customer prospects and the sour economy will slow that expansion down. (In-Stat)

Barrington Broadcasting Selects Cell Journalist for UGC; will allow the company’s stations to expedite getting approved user-generated clips on air. (Broadcasting & Cable)

Sorenson Expands its Spark Licensing Program; company’s video decoder now being used by Ittiam and NXP Semiconductors. (release)

AllHipHop.com Picks Kaltura; white-label video provider to power video management of the hip hop site. (release)

Will Premium Content Kill the “You” in YouTube?

As we touched on this morning, YouTube is prepping a redesign of its site to separate premium content from UGC. YouTube needs to make money, but will its latest moves to embrace Hollywood kill the community that turned the site into the online video behemoth it is today?
ClickZ broke the redesign story and writes:

The new design will offer four tabs: Movies, Music, Shows, and Videos. The first three tabs will display premium shows, clips, and movies from Google’s network and studio partners, all of which will be monetized with in-stream advertising. Meanwhile the Videos channel will house amateur and semi-pro content of the sort major brand advertisers have shied away from.

If ClickZ is correct, this redesign looks like it will ghettoize the amateur community. On YouTube, promotion drives plays, and there are only so many videos it can feature. The first casualty will most likely be YouTube’s own homegrown stars. How will Fred, Michael Buckley and SXEPhil fit into a new ecosystem populated by the likes of Brad Pitt and Will Smith? YouTubers might be able to coast on their existing fame for a bit, but the next generation of web celeb hopefuls won’t be as lucky. Promotion drives plays on YouTube and the lack of it could mean people who make a living off YouTube will need to go back to their day job (or back to school).
YouTube has been inching toward becoming a premium content destination for a while now. It signed traditional media players such as CBS and MGM, it altered its rules to tame some of the naughtier content and design tweaks like ordered playlists have made the site more premium content friendly.
Read More about Will Premium Content Kill the “You” in YouTube?

Will Doritos Spawn a UGC Ads Comeback?

We love that Doritos brought back its UGC Super Bowl ad contest, and we love it even more that two unemployed brothers showed the ad world what’s what by creating a groin-achingly funny spot. Joe and Dave Herbert’s “Free Doritos” commercial not only won the brothers the Dorito’s contest (and a cool $1 million), nabbed the top spot on USA Today’s Ad Meter and was voted favorite ad by the YouTube (s GOOG) and Hulu audiences, but according to a new survey released by comScore yesterday, Doritos enjoyed the biggest improvement in consumer perception among advertisers in Super Bowl.

Given all the positive buzz, we wonder if UGC ad contests will see a resurgence in 2009 after fading away last year. Doritos, which made headlines with two previous Super Bowl commercial contests, took a break from this type of content during the 2008 Super Bowl and told us at the time that UGC ads had passed their peak. After a flood of UGC ad contests back in 2007, the advertising world just seemed burnt out on the concept.

But perhaps the crappy state of the economy will spur advertisers to once again look to the masses for cheap marketing labor. Forget “Free Doritos,” we’re talking free labor. Why hire a big, expensive ad firm when you can hold a contest? And with so many people unemployed and taking paycuts, there’s more incentive than ever for everyday folks to get their creative juices flowing for their shot at recognition and cash prizes.

Vid-Biz: Panasonic, Time Warner, UGC

Panasonic to Cut 15,000 Jobs, or 5 Percent of Its Workforce; facing tough times the consumer electronics giant will also close 27 manufacturing sites (12 percent of its worldwide production facilities). (The Wall Street Journal)

Time Warner Expanding Metered Broadband; details are few, but more cities to face the cable company’s stingy policies — better watch what you download. (GigaOM)

Nearly Half of U.S. Internet Users to View UGC Vids by 2013; this is up from 36 percent in 2008. (eMarketer)

NaviSite Hooks Up with EdgeCast Networks; partnership will yield a new portfolio of CDN-based services such as caching, electronic file delivery, streaming, API tools and support. (emailed release)

Italian Judge Suspends Decision in Google Video Case; Criminal Court of Milan pauses to consider procedural issues (it’s a common occurrence), proceedings to continue Feb. 18. (see our previous coverage) (The Privacy Advisor)

Commercials Make TV More Enjoyable? New NYU study finds that people who watched TV with commercial breaks included rated their experience higher. Huh? (The Live Feed)

Matt Smith Joins Inlet Technologies; Smith was previously with Yahoo and is now the senior director, systems architecture for the encoding company. (release (PDF)