The mobile phone is often referred to as the second screen. But is it becoming the first screen instead?
Recent data from Parks Associates indicates that U.S. consumers often turn to their mobile devices regularly while watching TV. The research firm said 22% of U.S. broadband consumers check or update their social network on a smartphone or tablet while watching TV, while 18% of U.S. homes with a smartphone or tablet use an app from their pay-TV provider to check TV listings, program their DVR, or watch TV programming. Those are solid numbers, demonstrating how quickly mobile devices have become vital “companions” while watching TV.
Younger viewers are increasingly likely to turn to their mobile phones first, even for TV-related activities. Consumers 18 to 34 are 70% more likely to look up TV listings via a mobile device, while 90% are more likely to look up info about what they’re watching, and twice as likely to research products and services while watching than consumers age 35 to 55, Parks said in the study it conducted with technology provider iMediaShare.
Among all smartphone and tablet users, about 40% regularly search for information about a product or service via a mobile device while watching TV. About 20% are accessing pay TV services from their service provider on the second screen.
However, the phone isn’t taking over as the primary viewing platform. It very much remains a complementary venue, because on average U.S. consumers are watching 30 hours of live TV each week and 90% watch programs regularly via the TV set, Parks said.
These findings suggest that in the future mobile phone will play a greater role in TV viewing, but without supplanting the TV set. Mobile devices will be used to personalize the TV experience, to discover and decide what to watch, and to manage transitions in viewing from one platform to the next.
More evidence of the role mobile phones will play comes in this finding – at the end of last year, 90% of North American service providers offered TV Everywhere services, though most of those services were delivered to computers.
Make way, though, for more anytime-anywhere programming to be served up on mobile phones, even if the viewer is home. About 60% of TV viewing on a mobile device is done in the house.