Most TV viewers want to be on their mobile devices too

Krystal Peak · April 5, 2012 · Short URL:

Nearly 86% of tablet owners, 88% of smartphone users play on their device while watching TV


If you feel guilty about need giving any one thing your attention because you are on your tablet or smartphone playing a game, checking your email or IMDBing that actor you just saw in a scene, don't worry you aren't alone. A staggering 86% of tablet owners and 88% of smartphone users say that they are on their devices while watching TV, according to a Nielsen study out Thursday.

Nielsen looked at smartphone and tablet owners' habits over the course of a month and found that 45% of tablet users split their attention between their device and their TV programs on a daily basis -- and 41% of smartphone users did the same on their smaller mobile devices.

Marketing companies and second screen businesses like GetGlue have been savvy with these trends and have created more partnerships in order to capitalize on these new distracted habits. But the study identified that as much as TV programers would rather you tweet about the show or log-in to a second screen experience, the most common device activity occurring along with your TV viewing is checking email -- second is the highly coveted searches related to TV programming.

Similarly, the UK device users are splitting their attention just as much as their America counterparts. Roughly 80% of British tablet users are playing online as they watch TV and 78% used smartphones while watching TV in the last month. 

Italians and Germans were the least likely to use a device while watching TV. In both countries, 29% of users said they never use a tablet and TV together and 34% of Italians and 35% of Germans said they don’t use their smartphone while watching TV.

Second screen companies have been snagging funding for the last year or so, including GetGlue's capture of $12 million in January.

Launched less than two years ago, GetGlue has attracted more than two million users of its Web and mobile apps so that they can check-in to TV shows or movies, comment along with other fans, gain loyalty points and memorabilia and discover new shows that people like them watch.

Many have speculated, including your's truly, that this year would be the year of social interaction with produced content (also known as second screen interaction.)

This year we started seeing TV programs create hashtags for viewers to stream live comments and questions about programs such as Glee and American Idol. In fact, a study done at the very beginning of 2011 showed that 86% of people were already using their mobile devices while watching television and throughout the year more people started taking that time to tweet or comment about the shows they were watching.

Next year we will see an even deeper focus on assuring that people watching their shows and perusing the Internet at the same time will be focused on the program on TV.

And today, a music-centric app, Shazam, announced that it has partnered with American Idol to help viewers identify the songs being sung on air while unlocking extra content. This announcement came just after we all learned that Shazam passed the 200 million user mark.

So all of you Idol fans can snag the tunes you hear almost instantly and get connected to Idol social media and photo content for an even richer viewing experience -- for the remainder of the season.

The TV-to-app move is part of Shazam’s effort to appeal to television networks and advertisers looking to boost their second screen impact. This live broadcast partnership is the third major deal of its kind this year for Shazam.

And, earlier this month, Peel, which was launched as a whole new type of TV guide, unveiled a new level of social interaction at SXSW. Now, on top of checking into television programs, getting suggestions on new content and using your phone as a remote, the mobile app will also allow viewers to respond to programing with boos and cheers.

The young startup, founded in 2009, has raised more than $24 million in VC funding and is looking to expand what people consider doable in the second-screen world.

Traditionally, the second screen experience encourages TV viewers to log into social networking platforms such as Miso or GetGlue and check-in to a program so that they can win points, bags, or real products and then comment, share and learn more about the programs that they love.

One of the ways that Peel is imaging on expanding on the social world of second screen interaction is by adding public responses to popular reality talent shows such as American Idol




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