Guess what? People are using a second device, such as a tablet or iPhone, while they are watching TV. However, as many companies work to combine the second screen into live viewing of shows and movies, the reality is that most consumers aren’t using the second screen for that purpose. Realistically, if you look at the data, they are using it to escape commercials.
According to a recent Neilsen report, roughly 40% of Americans are using a tablet or smartphone daily while watching television. Of that 40%, only 28% used the device to look up related info on the TV programming. Is accessing this type of content something consumers want? It’s hard to know and something the NY Times dove into with a myriad of apps supplying these types of functionality.
So, what activity was at the top of the list? Email. Yup, both during the TV programming and commercials, more than 60% of users checked their email (just can’t escape work sometimes).
Other activities on the list include surfing unrelated information, both during the shows and commercials, as well as visiting social networks. The very bottom of the list consisted of people looking up info on an commercial they say or trying to find a coupon.
What does this all mean for the second screen?
The truth may be that many consumers are just not ready for a unified viewing experience, where all their devices are in sync around one particular piece of content. However, the data does help brands see some potential campaigns for during the time users are watching TV.
Here are a few:
- Email them! If users are checking email during these times and most people watch TV in the afternoons either after work or dinner, then perhaps part of your email marketing can reach out to them at that time and include a call to action relevant to the show time. Could be an easy way to get them to continue watching or change the channel to your content.
- Schedule some social updates during the time the show airs. If consumers are using Facebook or Twitter then having some show specific tweets or updates view-able in their feeds may help to increase engagement, spread viewing times or at the very least remind them to tune-in. We have seen success with doing this and making the updates related to the show. For example, we focused on asking questions about certain parts of the show during and after. Consumers love to give their 2 cents.
- Give them more. The great thing about movies or TV shows is that there is always extras that don’t make it into what we normally see. Take the opportunity to create an experience around these extras as a take away from the original content. This may be a website, mobile app or even a Facebook app. While consumers may not mix watching with engaging in another experience, it doesn’t mean they won’t before or after the movie or show. We recently did this for a major network channel and one of their long running shows with great success.
Do you think the Neilsen report stats are surprising?