Media and Technology Stats and Studies – August 12, 2013

The Level Playing Field Institute (LPFI), an organization focused on eliminating barriers faced by underrepresented people of color in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) occupations, has released an analysis of the efficacy of its SMASH summer program hosted at the University of California – Berkeley, Stanford University, the University of California – Los Angeles, and the University of Southern California. LPFI launched SMASH in 2004 to “alleviate barriers facing underrepresented students of color in pursuing computer science.” The report evaluates the June-August, 2012 SMASH program, which included 165 low-income, high school students of color. SMASH employs culturally relevant pedagogy, inquiry-based learning, and content standards designed “to ensure students are engaged and are mastering content while understanding the application of concepts and skills to their every day lives.” In its recently published report, LPFI found SMASH students, regardless of race or gender, show increased awareness and understanding of computer science material after the program’s completion. The students also showed an increased level of aspiration to enter STEM fields. Freada Kapor Klein, Ph.D. is the founder of LPFI and serves on its Board. She is also a member of the Board of Governors at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

The recent dispute between CBS and Time Warner has revealed the role piracy can take when content is not available. The Washington Post reports, “In a week-to-week comparison of BitTorrent activity, TorrentFreak discovered that pirated downloads of the CBS show Under the Dome rose sharply when the blackout began. Online piracy of the show rose by more than a third where viewers had lost access to CBS. Before the screens went dark, viewers from blackout regions accounted for 10.9% of all U.S. downloads of Under the Dome; the Monday after the blackout took effect, that figure jumped 3.7% to 14.6%.”

In a new study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, researchers found that 72% of online adults use social networking sites. Eighty-nine percent of Americans between the ages of 18 to 29 use social networks. Those aged 65 and older have roughly tripled their presence on social networking sites in the last four years, from 13% in the spring of 2009 to 43% today. White, Black and Hispanic Americans all used social networking heavily at 70%, 75%, and 80% respectively.

New research shows filters are ineffective in curbing piracy for copyrighted content. A recent report from the nonprofit Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) shows targeting search engines and removing “undesirable” search results would not substantially alter or prevent piracy. The study states that only 15% of traffic to so-called “rogue sites” came from search, and that data from Alexa showed only about 8% of traffic to The Pirate Bay coming from search.

A new study has found use of Twitter can increase viewership of television shows. The study, conducted by Nielsen, “examined Twitter chatter and minute-by-minute ratings of 221 episodes of prime-time shows on major networks. Twitter messages were shown to cause a ‘significant increase’ in ratings 29% of the time, said Mike Hess, an executive vice president at Nielsen and the senior researcher involved in the study. A causal connection was also shown in the other direction: that is, the ratings had an effect on the volume of related messages 48% of the time.”

4G LTE networks are becoming available across the globe reports Light Reading Mobile. According to research by Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA), “there are now 200 commercial 4G LTE networks live in 76 countries worldwide — a growth of 112% year-on-year. The GSA says that 106 LTE networks have been launched during the past 12 months, with 54 of those having gone live this calendar year. Chile, Iceland, Iraq, Lebanon, Malaysia, New Zealand, Paraguay, Qatar, Spain, Thailand, US Virgin Islands and Venezuela are all new entrants to the world of LTE this year. The U.S., South Korea and Japan still maintain the largest subscriber bases for the new 4G technology across the world.”

The new trade-in deals by T-Mobile and Verizon are coming into a receptive market. Reported by TWICE, NPD Connected Intelligence has found “more than 60% of smartphone owners are aware that they can trade in their existing device for a new device, and more than half of smartphone owners plan to do so when they get a new phone. Currently, only 13 percent of smartphone owners said they traded in their previous mobile device.”

Studying new purchases of smartphones by owners who do not already own one, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners has found the iPhone is not the most popular choice. AllThingsD reports that less than one-third of first-time owners buy an iPhone. For owners who already have a smartphone, their next phone is an iPhone almost 50% of the time. The study also found Samsung does about as well among both new and repeat smartphone buyers.

Analyzing who uses applications to pay for goods and services, a recent study by Onavo Insights has found mobile payments are more often used by men. For all the apps studied, men more frequently use them except for Starbucks where women make up 54 percent of users. Square Wallet has the lowest ratio of female users at 21 percent.


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