The concept isn’t new: Nielsen was reporting on Internet/TV multitasking four years ago, and one of the top trends for 2009 was the idea of Distraction as Entertainment. But today the spike in connected screens, and services that link them with the big screen, is creating interesting new possibilities for TV broadcasters and marketers alike.
Pew Research released a report called ” The Rise of the Connected Viewer” in which the key takeaway is that “52% of adult cell owners use their phones while engaging with televised content.”
Mind you, this study does not dive into tablet or laptop usage while watching TV. If those devices were included, surely the numbers would be dramatically higher. The study chose to focus on the mobile phone.
Beyond the statistical headline there’s some specific user behavior worth noting:
- 38% of cell owners used their phone to keep themselves occupied during commercials
- 23% used their phone to exchange texts with someone else who was watching the same program in a different location
- 20% used their phone to visit a website that was mentioned on television
- 11% used their phone to see what other people were saying online about a program, and 11% posted their own comments online about a program they were watching
Putting the largest group aside (38%), there are promising signs for marketers and the entertainment industry. The rest of those stats all point to an audience that is engaged with TV content and hungry for more.
That’s the real story here. Viewers want to talk with other viewers about the latest plot twist. They want to dig deeper on characters and visit relevant links that will help them explore further into content.
So how can marketers tap into the second screen? Take a cue from Shazam, which has become a worldwide gateway of second-screen experiences alongside some of the world’s biggest television shows and events.
It’s still early, and we expect to see more innovative experiments and approaches cropping up in the months ahead—but so far it’s clear that the second screen offers brand s the promise to turn what could be a negative (media multitasking & distraction) into a positive, immersive brand experience.