Dual-Screening Becomes Mainstream

It’s time to change the narrative. It’s past time to take note when a major event generates a high level of dual-screening (watching TV, while using a second device).

The news these days would be if a TV program proved so engrossing, people just couldn’t pick up an iPad or smartphone -- so gripping, they couldn’t manage to even type 140 characters.

NBCUniversal top researcher Alan Wurtzel recently called simultaneous consumption “the new normal” when referring to the level of dual-screening that took place during the Summer Olympics, where much of it involved watching video on a handheld device.

So, was the Pew Research Center’s “One in Ten ‘Dual-Screened’ the Presidential Debate” headline Thursday worth, well, a headline?

Actually, the amount for the first presidential debate last week seems a bit low, so maybe the headline should have been “Only One in Ten …”

Dual-screening, of course, is only set to continue growing with young people unable to separate themselves from a smartphone. But the behavior apparently is not just the province of a digital native.

More than a fifth of those (22%) under 40 said they watched the debate while accessing related content online, according to the Pew Research Center’s survey. But 10% in a 40-to-64 demo also said they did so.

NBCU’s Olympics numbers are even more pointed when suggesting dual-screening crosses generations. Using one measure, 53% of 18-to-24 year-olds were so-called “SimViewers,” while the percentage about the same for those 55-plus.

The Pew data came via a survey of about 1,000 adults Oct. 4-7.

When speaking about Olympic consumption patterns, Wurtzel suggested the press might be a little hyper in portraying social media use as so expansive.

Still, Pew reports 5% of those viewing the debate live offered commentary online. Based on Nielsen’s estimate of 67.2 viewers, that would be about 3.4 million.

Is that a modest amount? It's well over the population of Iowa, a state both Obama and Romney are fighting hard to win.






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3 comments about "Dual-Screening Becomes Mainstream".
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  1. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC , October 11, 2012 at 6:12 p.m.

    The US Population is 314,559,464.
    Your estimate of 3.4 million "dual-screeners' is 1.1% of the nation's population. That's not MAINSTREAM. It's DAYDREAM. Let's all wake up and smell the coffee -- and not the hype. Frankly, it stinks. Surely there is a more constructive way to deal with the evolution of media consumption in the US.

  2. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein , October 11, 2012 at 6:20 p.m.

    Neil Postman was right when, back in 1985, he asserted we were amusing ourselves to death. Little did he know.

  3. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC , October 11, 2012 at 6:50 p.m.

    As Postman was commenting on "Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business" your comment proves him right. Cheers.