Second Screens, Other Viewers Distract From TV Ads, Impact Viewability

More distractions -- from second-screen devices and/or other people in a room viewing at the same time -- have a major effect on whether TV viewers notice TV advertising.

Research from the Council for Research Excellence (CRE), conducted jointly at the Time Warner’s Media Lab in New York and Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience’s lab in Boston, looked at “solo viewing”-- solo viewing with a second screen, co-viewers and co-viewers with second screens (see related story here).

Without a second-screen distraction, whether solo viewing or co-viewing with a friend, more than 90% of the viewers noticed TV ads. CRE defines this as “a viewer having at least one fixation on an ad.



But when adding a second screen for a solo viewer, noticing TV ads drops 75%.

Beyond “noticing” TV ads, the CRE says viewing, defined as total time in “fixation” using eye-tracking, is a more stringent measure. Results here are that solo viewers spent 58% of time in “fixation," which dropped to 43% when including co-viewers.

Access to second screens dipped these results even lower for solo viewers: 34% in fixation time. Adding co-viewers with a second screen drops the number to 25%.

Participants in this study were seated in a simulated living-room environment. Data collected with biometric devices measured emotional response, eye-tracking devices measure visual attention, facial coding cameras capture expressed emotion, and video cameras to capture behavior at second-by-second levels.

Another study -- with research conducted by Hub Entertainment Research in conjunction with CRE -- focused on non-linear platforms: VOD, computer, tablet and smartphone, testing a variety of advertising delivery.

Some results: While TV screens can support full duration of advertising loads with reasonable recall, advertising on tablets and phones need “moderate or light ad loads” to have a recall advantage.

Also: Advertising repetition helps with recall, but leads to a more negative viewing experience. Fast-forwarding is detrimental to brand recall, but is used infrequently.

Hub Entertainment Research conducted this study from an online survey among 2,459 TV viewers. Respondents ages 16-54 were recruited and each was assigned one of five viewing platforms: live TV, VOD, computer, tablet or smartphone.

CRE also notes that generally speaking, “bigger screen leads to more positive viewing experience overall.”

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