US second screen usage disappoints

Live TV streaming to tabletsUS consumers are not widely using applications designed by broadcasters on their laptops, smartphones, and other second-screen devices.

According to The NPD Group nearly all (88%) US households own at least one device that can be used as a second screen, with 87% of US entertainment consumers reported to be using at least one second-screen device while watching television. These multitasking consumers are splitting their attention between their televisions and their laptops, tablets, smartphones, and other second-screen devices.

While multitasking is common, viewers are less willing to use their second-screen devices to interact directly with applications designed specifically for the TV programs they are watching.

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New information from NPD’s Digital Video Outlook Second Screens Report reveals that play-along games, check-in rewards, live voting, and other interactive features are highly effective for the minority of second-screen viewers, but do not resound with most.

When analysing usage of each individual device over the past three months, PCs were the devices most used simultaneously with TV (60%), followed by smartphones (55%), and tablets (49%).

Among TV viewers who use second-screen devices, only 47% have participated in second-screen activities. The most common TV-to-second-screen interaction was learning more about the TV program they were watching, and finding out about the actors in that programme.

Viggle, zeebox, and other apps designed to enhance second-screen engagement are not commonly used by consumers. Instead, of those TV watchers who engage in second-screen activities, most interact with their TV experience by visiting IMDb, Wikipedia, and social networks.

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“Viewers are interested in searching to find further information about TV shows they are watching, but they are not using games and other immersive applications created as a component of the programming,” said Russ Crupnick, SVP, industry analysis, NPD.

“This situation creates a potential diversion from advertising, and it will take a combined effort from content owners, advertisers, broadcasters, and others to present an aligned second-screen experience that will appeal to viewers.”

Shopping for a product seen in a TV commercial was the third most popular second-screen activity. In particular, laptop users and consumers between the ages of 35 and 49 were most likely to shop for products via their second-screen devices.

“Converting viewers into impulse shoppers has big potential impact for advertisers, who can leverage second screens to further connect with consumers watching TV,” Crupnick said.