Few Viewers Use Second-Screen Apps While Watching TV

Watching-Tablet-TV-A3Only a minority of consumers are using specially designed companion apps on laptops, tablets and smartphones while watching TV. While multitasking is pervasive, most viewers aren’t using their devices to interact with second-screen apps, inviting users to check in for rewards, participate in play-along games and polls, and other activities tied to specific TV shows. 

The study by NPD Group found that among viewers who use second-screen devices, nearly half (47%) have engaged in second-screen activities.

The most common TV-to-screen interaction was learning more about the program they were watching, including learning about actors who appear in a show or movie. People most often turn to IMDb, Wikipedia and social networks rather than apps intended to enhance the second-screen experience like Viggle, Zeebox and others.
“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,” said Russ Crupnick, senior vice president of industry analysis at NPD.
The study found more promise in people shopping for products seen in TV commercials, which was the third-most-popular second-screen activity. In particular, laptop users 35 to 49 were the most likely to shop for products on their devices. “Converting viewers into impulse shoppers has big potential impact for advertisers, who can leverage second screens to further connect with consumers watching TV,” said Crupnick.
NPD indicated that nearly all (88%) of U.S. households owns at least one device that can be used as a second screen, with 87% of entertainment consumers reported using at least one device while watching TV. PCs were the devices most used simultaneously with TV (60%), followed by smartphones (55%) and tablets (49%).
The findings were derived from NPD’s “Digital Video Outlook Second Screens Report,” based primarily on information from NPD’s survey of 3,387 NPD consumers who reported watching a TV show or movie in the previous week.



6 comments about "Few Viewers Use Second-Screen Apps While Watching TV".
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  1. Eric Conn from Leverege, April 9, 2013 at 11:06 a.m.

    Although it may be true that the overall percentage of consumers using special-purpose second screen apps remains low, our media and entertainment parters find that the level of engagement of the users that do consume second screen content is very high and significantly lifts traffic to their mobile/tablet websites and apps. The key to success ultimately comes down to the exclusivity of the content and the experience itself. Interactive second screen experiences where consumers have a real impact on the show, such as voting for alternative endings like we recently did with USA Network for the 100th episode of Pysch, tend to do quite well.

  2. Doug Garnett from Protonik, LLC, April 9, 2013 at 4:32 p.m.

    Nice to see some research reality. And while that tiny percentage may be highly engaged, there's plenty of research showing that the height of engagement doesn't connect with size of revenue generated. :-)

  3. Eric Conn from Leverege, April 9, 2013 at 4:42 p.m.

    While we're admittedly only working with subset of the M&E and Sports companies, the trend has been towards more second screen interactivity rather than less exactly because it has generated more revenue from advertisers and brought much needed relevance to their owned mobile/tablet websites and apps. As long as advertisers are seeing benefits, I imagine this trend will continue.

  4. Matthew Greene from WiOffer, April 13, 2013 at 9:41 a.m.

    Great wrap-up Mark, thanks!

    Duly noted that the 3rd most popular 2nd-Screen engagement is purchasing products on the device.

    Having arguably helped nascent platforms gain traction from my earliest days in the ad agency business, I was an advocate for my clients advertising on Cable TV programming such as MTV, ESPN, Turner...in spite of the media department's reluctance to 'dabble' in unmeasured media.

    Same thing with digital advertising. I brought the joys, accountability and idea of ROI of online advertising to Sony Consumer Electronics, Estée Lauder Companies (2 brands), Smashbox Cosmetics (wasn't owned by ELC then), Discount Tire Company and many others.

    As Pres. Reagan would say..."Mr. Greene, there you go again...". The stats are absolutely in favor of consumers migrating to 2nd Screen experiences. Why? It gives them greater control of who/what and what brands they get to interact with.

    With my company's 2nd Screen service, WiO, we're busy proving-out the idea that consumers actually DO want to engage with brands they see on TV.

    We've built WiO technology and core features to help TV viewers immediately engage with the brands they see on TV which is why we believe our positioning as the only "pure play" 2nd Screen advertising media platform in the business will resonate with the major brands, and their brand fans.

  5. Chris Reynolds from OneTwoSee, April 15, 2013 at 1:19 p.m.

    Just like anything else, everything is in the execution. We work directly with our broadcast partners who are in turn working directly with their advertisers to extend the traditional :30 buy into the second screen. Instead of creating an advertising diversion we are delivering a cohesive advertising experience via the second screen. Our platform enables our partners to create additional linear and digital inventory. Again all parties have to be on board and have to be willing to commit resources to ensure success.

  6. Lisa Farris from Get This, April 16, 2013 at 8:33 a.m.

    We've also found, from our primary research, that shopping both items seen in program and ads was the third most popular thing to do while watching TV - after communicating with friends and looking up info on cast and character. We launched www.getthis.tv and this week's iPad app bit.ly/XIvBYU that seamlessly shop-enables entertainment.

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