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Americans Can’t Put Down Their Phones, Shut Off the TV

Have a hard time prying your eyes from a screen? You're not alone.

A new report from market research firm eMarketer reveals that US adults are now spending more than half their day—12 hours and 7 minutes, on average—consuming media. That includes nearly six hours with digital media on a mobile device, desktop, laptop, or tablet and four hours in front of the TV; nearly 1.5 hours with radio; and 25 minutes with print media sources.

EMarketer likened American's media obsession to the annual Coney Island hot dog eating contest.

"It has seemed in recent years that US adults bring a similar spirit to their consumption of media, cramming as much as possible into an average day," the firm wrote. "Like a Coney Island contestant stuffing hot dogs into his mouth with both hands, people are often using multiple media at the same time. That is how the figure for time spent can add up to 12 hours a day."


The company said it counted simultaneous usage separately, so if someone spent an hour in front of the TV, and browsed the web on their smartphone at the same time, that counted for an hour of usage for each.

One might surmise that our collective smartphone obsession would start to dwindle by now. Not so, according to eMarketer; the average time we're spending with smartphones has "steadily increased," it said. EMarketer expects the amount of "nonvoice" time we spend with smartphones to rise from two hours, 18 minutes in 2014 to two hours, 42 minutes by 2019.

"The proliferation of apps is clearly a factor in this increase," the company wrote. "For users of smartphones — and, to a slightly lesser extent, users of tablets—time spent using those devices mostly means time spent using apps."

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Zoosk relaunches dating app Lively as a way to meet new people while playing trivia games

Hoping to capitalize on the popularity of trivia applications like HQ Trivia, dating app maker Zoosk has just released an experimental app that combines trivia with the potential for meeting someone new. The app is a relaunch and complete makeover of Zoosk’s Lively, which first debuted in July 2016 as a dating app that used video to tell stories, instead of static profile images. The new version of Lively is nothing like its former namesake. As Zoosk explains, the previous version of Lively’s group video chat app was fun, but people didn’t know how to connect and relate to one another using the video format. It felt awkward to start conversations, with no reason to be there besides wanting to date. The company went back to the drawing board, so to speak, to think about what sort of experiences could bring people together. Trivia, naturally, came to mind. Lively aims to reproduce the feeling that comes with competing at a bar trivia night. When you join, you’re placed in a group video chat team of two to four people. Together, the team works to answer a series of 12 questions while discussing the answers over video in real-time. When they finish the questions, they’ll be able to see how their scores compared with other teams. The “dating” component to the app isn’t quite what you would expect. In fact, it’s less of a way to find a date for a night out, than it is to just make new friends. After the game wraps, you’ll have the option to continue chatting with the other players, if you choose. You can also add people as a friend, if you hit it off. And when trivia isn’t in session – the games run twice daily at 3 PM and 7 PM PST – you can group video chat with others on Lively. Because you’re not added to a team with nearby players, your ability to make friends who are also possible real-life dating prospects is decidedly limited. That’s something that Lively could change to support in time, if it’s able to grow its user base. But for now, it needs to match users with any live players in order to fill out its teams. It’s understandable why it went this route, but it doesn’t lend itself well to meeting someone special – unless you’re open to meeting people anywhere (which some are), or are fine with just making new friends and seeing where that leads. Unlike HQ Trivia, which features live streams with a host, Lively is just group video chat with a trivia component. That means it won’t be as challenging for Zoosk to operate, as it doesn’t have to worry with bandwidth issues and other costs of putting on a live game show. Also, because there are no prizes or payouts, you can join anytime during the 30-minute gaming session to be placed into a team and play along. Lively is not the first app to support a group video chat interface where gameplay is an option. A number of video chat apps over the years have integrated games into their experience, including older apps like Tango or Google+ Hangouts, Line, and more recently, Facebook Messenger. But none have integrated games for the purpose of facilitating new relationships. Zoosk today has 38 million members, but wanted to find a way to reach a younger demographic, which is why it originally launched Lively. The app was the first product to emerge from Zoosk’s in-house incubator, Zoosk Labs, where the company experiments with new ideas to expand its core business. Whether or not Zoosk can turn trivia players into love connections remains to be seen, but it’s interesting how HQ Trivia’s success has led to this wider market full of knock-offs (e.g. Genius, Joyride, Cash Show, The Q, TopBuzz, Live Quiz, Live.me, Halftime Live!, Jam Music, etc.) and other tweaks that follow its idea of live trivia games. Lively is available on iOS only for now.

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