The Nielson company that has told you for years what we’re all watching on television also now reports on mobile media. This quarter’s results show just how much media is being converted to digital and just how fast. Among the key findings cited in their summary:

  • Smartphone subscribers have increased 45% since the same quarter 2010.
  • In just the third quarter, 26m consumers viewed video on their smartphones.
  • 62% of smartphone users have downloaded apps (why else own a smartphone?)
  • The vast majority of smartphone users have used deal sites like Groupon.

Not surprisingly, the study also shows near-saturation of the young adult market, with a whopping 64% of 25-35 year olds owning smartphones. Meanwhile, in the classic PC-era irony that we never seem to quite get away from, Apple is the largest manufacturer of smartphones with 26% of the marketplace, but Android is the top Operating System with 44% of the marketplace.

Most of us with parents will also not be surprised that the older set is getting into the texting game with a vengeance. While young-uns like the texting – 13-17-yo’s receive as many as 3400 texts a month! – the number of messages received by the 55+ set has doubled in two years.

And here’s the kicker: Facebook applications are the single most-used applications on both Android and iPhone platforms. Mobile websites that are popular include the stand-by Google, Facebook and Twitter, respectively.

On the issue of smartphone applications, the download rates are telling. The Apple iOS market remains consistent since 2009, with around 35% of users downloading applications. But Android users are much more download-y, apparently, with an explosive 45% growth over the same two years: 49% of Android users have downloaded an application in the last 30 days before the survey. RIM and Windows are both lagging behind, with a 21% drop for RIM and a 15% drop for Windows.

I wonder if Twitter’s presence in this survey is muted by the fact that its application ecosystem is so varied: while Facebook has its own well-used application, Twitter users tend towards third-party apps such as HootSuite Oosfora and Seesmic. Like Twitter’s linking problem – which they have recently moved to cure with the t.co shortener – Twitter’s proper place in social networking is not accurately calculated because of this flexibility.
Nielsen | State of the Media: Mobile Media Report Q3 2011.