More Than 60 Percent of Consumers Use Social Media While Watching TV

During a recent interview with Media Magazine, Ogilvy’s Chief Digital Officer Brandon Berger offered up one of the most insightful remarks about mobile devices that I’ve heard: “We have this idea that the TV is the first screen, but where is the activity occurring? It’s occurring on the tablet or the mobile device, so which one is the priority screen?”

Given the attention that consumers devote to their phones and tablets, it seems clear that the most important screen has become the one that allows viewers to look up information, or buy products, or talk about what they’re watching.

To that end, this fresh data point from Ericsson about social TV will likely become a vital stat for our media business. The TV technology firm found that 62% of consumers use social media while watching TV on a weekly basis, and that figure is up 18% from 2011. Of those people who use social channels while the TV is on, a full 40% are talking about what they’re watching on TV.

Social TV isn’t just for millenials either -- 30% of consumers who talk about TV shows while they’re watching them are 45 to 59. Another statistic that speaks to the central role that mobile devices play is the finding that 67% of consumers use tablets, smartphones or laptops for “their everyday TV viewing, both for video consumption and to enable a social media experience while watching TV.”

But despite the growing popularity of on-demand viewing across many platforms, watching broadcast TV programming live is still the dominant viewing preference, the study found. Pair that insight with the social TV stat and you can see why a social TV strategy is so vital. Yes -- consumers are watching on other devices, but by and large they’re watching on TV and they’re often also talking about the show thanks to social networks on their phones or mobile devices.

Together, this research underscores how deeply habits are changing, and how essential it is for programmers and marketers to capture the TV viewer not only on the “first screen” but also on the screen they use for interaction -- the mobile one in most cases.

For its research, Ericsson conducted online surveys of about 12,000 consumers in the United States, United Kingdom, China, Spain,  Sweden, Brazil, Taiwan, South Korea, Germany, Mexico, Chile and Italy.

4 comments about "More Than 60 Percent of Consumers Use Social Media While Watching TV".
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  1. Doug Garnett from Protonik, LLC, September 5, 2012 at 5:17 p.m.

    Scary use of stats. First, it's "once per week" - significant but a far cry from the 28 hours of TV. So how much are they using it? BIG open question. ANd there is little correlation between what they're known to be doing on mobile devices (calling their moms) and what's happening on the screen. I continue to maintain that this is little different from what's been known about multi-tasking and TV for years - it just used to be talking on the phone, paying attention to the kids, etc.

  2. John Grono from GAP Research, September 6, 2012 at 12:07 a.m.

    Doug, latest research to hand shows that in a week 71% of people claim to blow their nose into a handkerchief or tissue in a week while watching TV. We have a new medium - nasal media! (Of course I made it up, but that's the sort of 'thinking' you are referring to isn't it?)

  3. Pattie Glod from MediaMarketing Enterprises, LLC, September 6, 2012 at 8:39 a.m.

    Agree with Doug. I'd like to see true simultaneous usage data on this topic: that would be meaningful. As a marketer/advertiser, I'm only interested in how many people are using a secondary screen during the precise moment that my commercial is airing. This data is no more applicable commercial audiences than weekly cume data for a network. Not surprised about the age skew -- 45 to 59's use traditional media like older demos, and digital like younger. They are heavy consumers of both, hence more overlap....still only 24 hours in a day!

  4. Eric Hyman from EarthLink, September 10, 2012 at 7:06 p.m.

    Reminds me of a funny conversation with my wife, a healthcare professional who is not really into social media. "People don't want to use their phone or iPad watching TV," she said. Me: "When you say 'people,' do you mean 'actual people,' or do you mean YOU?" Point being, while everyone isn't using their device all the time, more and more are and the trend will continue. And with integrated content being created for both screens, it will only grow. My wife might ignore it (she is quite brilliant btw, just not totally enamored with all things digital though she's a killer in Words With Friends) if you are a marketer or agency type I wouldn't bet against it.

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