Tablets Gaining In Video Viewing Race

Guy-Ipad-Forget the “third screen.” Tablets are moving into the second-screen position (behind television) when it comes to watching full-length videos (i.e., television shows that are 30 minutes long or longer).

“I’ll put it up there as a second screen,” Stuart Schneiderman, senior director of digital research, Viacom Media Networks, tells Marketing Daily. “The transition within these households that seems to be happening is not that it's pulling away of TV, it’s taking over what has been from the other smaller screens.”

According to a survey of 2,500 consumers conducted by Viacom, 15% of full-length television viewing is done through a tablet device. About a quarter (25%) of Airplay users watch shows on their tablets, as do 19% of Netflix users and 22% of cable subscribers that have downloadable streaming apps, according to the survey. More than a third of the AirPlay (35%) and Whispersync (34%) users say they watch more programming on their tablets because of the apps.

Elsewhere, the study found: 

  • 62% of tablet users use their device daily, for an average of 2.4 hours a day. 
  • 85% of tablet use is for personal reasons (rather than business).
  • 74% of tablet use is at home.

In addition, the survey defined several emotional connections people may have to their device. Among the respondents, more than 50% said their tablet made them feel happier and more relaxed, and 49% said the device made them more effective at managing their lives. Thirty-nine percent said the tablets boosted their creativity. 

However, consumers still find more practical functionality in the laptops and smartphones. According to the survey, 65% of respondents would replace their laptop over their tablet (if they both broke at the same time) because the tablet lacks the work functionality, and 77% would replace their iPhone over their iPad in the same situation. 

“People love their tablets,” Schneiderman says. “That was even true for Kindle Fire owners; they have a special relationship with their tablet, but they’ll replace the laptop first because the laptop is the workhorse.”

Despite these findings, the television screen isn’t going away anytime soon. According to the survey, respondents still found television to provide the best experience, including everything from sound and picture quality to watching current episodes to ease of use.

“The TV is the dominant [viewing] device, and even with the special relationship people have with the tablet, the TV is still the top device,” Schneiderman says. “What people are doing with their tablets, we’ve found, is a great bit of show discovery.”

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