According to recent study data, the number of television viewers who are multitasking while watching TV is increasing. This coincides with broad changes in media consumption, a market shift that is most evident when considered as part of linear TV viewership over time. A survey by communications technology company Ericsson has found that TV multitasking by so-called “screen shifters” — Ericsson defines these as viewers who “use any screen anywhere for all kind[s] of TV and video content” — leads to a higher number of consumed video hours, reported eMarketer.
Screen-shifting consumers spend, on average, 62 hours per week watching content, as opposed to the 35 hours spent by “TV couch traditionalists,” who view plenty of broadcast TV but do so only on traditional TV screens. Though this seems like a big difference in total hourage, the data has found that screen shifters are usually on more than one screen at the same time.
What Are They Doing?
The thing about TV multitasking is that the possibilities for the combination of screens are nearly endless. Viewers may be watching a live sports event on broadcast television while participating in a larger discussion about the event on social media. A viewer could also be streaming the most recent episode of his or her favorite TV show or just browsing the Internet.
The Ericsson survey found that 31 percent of respondents who replied that they used multiple screens at once are using those multiple screens to consume content related to what they’re watching on TV; in 2014, that number was 23 percent. Another 20 percent of responders indicated they use a second screen to watch another program at the same time, while 19 percent use their mobile device or computer to browse online discussions related to what they’re watching on the first screen.
How Can Broadcasters Benefit?
Though this kind of fragmentation may seem like a negative, there’s actually much broadcasters and advertisers can do with the information. With mobile devices and the Internet constantly at our fingertips, this study highlights the opportunities that broadcasters and advertisers have to further engage their audiences.
Since most second-screen consumption comes from viewers trying to be more involved with first-screen content, advertisers and broadcasters can tap this added interest. When Google, an online vendor, or another website is just a few clicks or taps away from the viewer, a broadcaster can promote discussion about its content on social media, provide extra content on its own website, or even feature something provided by its sponsors. Advertisers can benefit by capitalizing on the calls to action in their campaigns and sending viewers directly to their website for special offers and additional content.