A new study says devices now compete equally with TV for consumer attention in the modern living room. Showing the extent to which connected devices have changed the living room, only 50% of UK online adults now see the TV set as the focal point of their living room, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB). Almost three quarters (70%) report they ordinarily use a connected device whilst watching TV, a figure that this rises to 87% of 16-34%
Multi device activity peaks between 6-9pm. The data revealed that about 60% of the time a person is most highly engaged during an evening TV session is in non-TV related activity, such as using a digital device or talking to someone.
During TV programmes, over one third (34%) check emails, 31% Instant Message or text and 25% shop online. The incidence of checking emails is consistent during TV programmes and ad breaks (both 34%) whilst texting or Instant Messaging is only 1% higher during the ad break than the programme. The device tracking showed, overall, there was actually more online activity per minute during a programme than an ad break.
IAB says the data shows the degree to which the rise of internet-connected devices has impacted the traditional TV watching living room dynamic “Second screening is ingrained to such a degree that all screens are now equal, there’s no hierarchy, only fragmentation of attention – actually switch-screening is a much more accurate term,” says Tim Elkington, the IAB’s Chief Strategy Officer. “Furthermore, entertainment is only a small part of the living room media activity. It’s now a multifunctional space where people jump between individual and group activities, be it shopping, social media, emails, work or messaging.”
Moreover, the declining “kettle power surge” during ad breaks in peak TV occasions over the last 25 years provides more evidence of the change in the traditional rhythm of the living room. During the biggest TV event in 1990 – England’s World Cup semi-final against West Germany – National Grid data compiled by British Gas shows a power surge equivalent to 1.12 million kettles boiling at the same time immediately after the match. In 2014’s biggest TV event – England’s World Cup match against Uruguay – the power surge was the equivalent of only 410,000 boiling kettles.
Among the various activities people do during an ad break, the one they do most often is going online via a connected device (35%) followed by talking to someone in the room (15%), leaving the room (13%) and changing the channel (8%).
The study involved nearly 1,050 people measured by a mixture of surveys, passive filming, on-device tracking, daily diaries and biometric data (via skin sensors to measure Electrical-Dermo Activity, aka engagement).
To emphasize the U.K study, two reports on U.S. Super Bowl viewing attested to the non-traditional viewing patterns -- despite some problems with the streaming video delivery of the big game.
Think With Google, an advertising research unit within the media giant, monitored the ways in which U.S. TV viewers interacted with Super Bowl 50 and found that 82% of ad-related searches conducted during the game telecast were done on mobile phones, compared with 7% on tablets and 11% on desktop computers.
Separately, Localytics tracked the average number of apps launched during the Super Bowl by mobile users. It found that app usage ran high throughout the game, with multitasking viewers using an average of 3.2 social networks and 1.9 sports apps.
Although these studies, from both sides of the Atlantic, are merely the latest entrants in the ongoing war of dueling data about multiscreen engagement and platform preferences, they add new evidence about the shifting preferences and screen savvy of a growing audience sector.Sources: