Tablets Changing Content Consumption Habits

The rapid adoption of the tablet is having a profound effect on the way consumers are getting, consuming and relating to their entertainment content. 

According to Deloitte’s eighth annual “Digital Democracy Survey” 37% of U.S. consumers are what the company calls “digital omnivores,” meaning they own a tablet, smartphone and laptop computer. That’s a growth of 42% over the number of digital omnivores in the previous year.

“At least for now, the tablet is not being viewed as a replacement for a laptop, but rather for its own distinctive uses,” Gerald Belson, Deloitte’s U.S. media and entertainment sector leader, tells Marketing Daily. “The primary uses are around watching video, as well as Internet activity and games.”

In addition, women -- who were just 35% of the digital omnivores a year ago -- account for 45% of them in the most recent survey. “It’s an interesting example of males being early adopters,” Belson says. “But females are catching up quickly.”

With the rapid adoption of the tablet as a content device, interest in streaming content has nearly doubled in the past year (from 17% in 2012 to 32% in 2013). Consumers have also expressed more interest in consuming programming on different devices and from different sources. (Indeed, younger Millennials spent more time watching content on non-television devices, even when that content was originally created for television, Belson says.)

“This is the first year that consumers have started to decouple the notion that content from a particular source [must be viewed on] a different device,” Belson says. “In today’s world, consumers make a conscious choice that they can watch whatever content on whatever device they want to watch it.”

At the same time, however, consumers are still committed to their pay-TV services. Only 6% of consumers who had pay-TV services said they were considering giving up the services in the next year, according to the survey.

Yet with all of these devices in consumers’ hands, multitasking is on the rise. According to the survey, 86% of consumers admitted to multitasking on another device while watching television (up from 72% in 2011). However, only 22% of those multitaskers are doing something directly related to the programs on the television set. The disparity is both a challenge and an opportunity for marketers, Belson says. 

“The second screen experience hasn’t been compelling enough for a majority of consumers to link the second screen [to the primary content],” he says. “The good news from an opportunity standpoint is that the second device is in consumers’ hands and it tends to be an interactive device.”

Deloitte’s Digital Democracy Survey collected data in the later months of 2013 from 2,000 U.S. consumers 14 and older.

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2 comments about "Tablets Changing Content Consumption Habits".
  1. Leo Kivijarv from PQ Media , March 28, 2014 at 9:48 a.m.
    Not surprised by the findings, particularly among younger demos. However, what's missing in the analysis is the consumption by income, as tablets and smartphones are increasing the digital divide. Furthermore, since most of MediaPost's readers, particularly those who influence advertising & marketing decisions, fall into the affluent/near affluent or younger demos, and watch their friends exhibit the same digital consumption patterns, media buying habits will be skewed and as they shift budgets to digital and miss reaching a large portion of their target audience who still primarily using marketing messages seen/heard/read in TV, radio, direct mail, out-of-home and print media in making their product purchasing decisions.
  2. Carri Bugbee from Big Deal Digital , March 28, 2014 at 4:25 p.m.
    Leo, previous studies have shown that the digital divide happens at around age 35, with those younger consuming content primarily on smart phones and those over 35 consuming via tablets. That said, the difference was small and likely shifting.