Study: 86% of people use mobile devices while watching TV
By Chris Hogg
According to a study published by Yahoo’s advertising division, TV fans are very active on the mobile front. The report indicates nearly 90 percent of boob tube watchers are using a mobile device at the same time.
It began as a passive past-time meant to escape from the everyday, but television today is turning into an engaging experience thanks to that smartphone in your pocket. Be it Twitter, Facebook, email or instant messaging, TV watchers are doing more than watching what’s on screen.
According to stats released by Yahoo/Nielsen, 86 percent of mobile Web users (and 92 percent of people aged 13 to 24) are using a mobile device while watching TV and one quarter of them are looking at related content to what they’re watching on screen. For this study, Yahoo interviewed 8,384 Americans aged 13 to 64. Of those, 5,313 were mobile Internet users.
The study (PDF) says TV watchers use their mobile to simultaneously text family and friends (56 percent); visit social networking sites (40 percent); browse content unrelated to the program on screen (37 percent); email friends and family (33 percent); use mobile apps (33 percent); browse for content related to the show on screen (24 percent); search for info based on a commercial that aired (23 percent); and instant message with friends or family (12 percent).
“This data mirrors Yahoo research on PC users, as we see that mobile users often scan content unrelated to TV programming, participate on social networks and send email,” the study reports. “Mobile allows ample opportunity for brands to continue the conversation after the TV ad is flighted.”
In addition to post-program interaction, the real-time Web and mobile apps are changing how people consume content on television. Evidence can be found with shows like Glee or Obama’s State of the Union address where people took to social networks like Twitter to discuss what they were seeing in real-time.
“The characters on Glee actually tweet and they tweet during the show,” Costolo said. “When Glee starts, the moment it airs for the first time on the East Coast, the tweets per second for Glee shoot up. They stay up there at a super high level at hundreds of [times] what they are before the show comes on until the moment the show ends and then they drop. [...] People feel like they have to watch the show while it’s going on because the community is tweeting about the show and the characters are tweeting as the show’s happening so [they have to] watch it in real time.”
ReadWriteWeb notes the Glee phenomonenon has caused viewers to tune into the show in real-time rather than time-shifting or recording it on DVR.
For marketers who want to connect with today’s modern TV-watcher, Yahoo says mobile usage presents “a compelling opportunity for content providers and advertisers alike to complement the viewing experience on the mobile platform.”