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Weekly Furniture World Media Note #37 from Lance Hanish-MobileFirst: TV Viewers Multitask With Smartphone Popular For Related Activities

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Sixty-three (63%) percent of live TV viewers and sixty-six (66%) percent of DVR TV viewers say they used another device at least once the last time they watched TV, with the most common device used being a computer (53% and 50%, respectively), according to a May 2012 report from the Internet Advertising Bureau.

Sixteen (16%) percent of live TV viewers and one-quarter of DVR TV viewers said they used a smartphone to multitask, while tablet use was reported by 9% and 14%, respectively. Despite a computer being the most common device used for multitasking, smartphones users were the most likely to interact with others about TV-related content (45%), ahead of tablet (30%) and computer (21%) users.

Indeed, according to the IAB’s “Screens to the nth,” those using smartphones while watching TV (”smartphone multitaskers”) outpace those using tablets and computers in a number of program-related areas. For instance, they are about twice as likely as tablet multitaskers to text, email, or IM with friends about the show (23% vs. 12%), and more than three times as likely to voice chat with friends about the show (20% vs. 6%). Smartphone multitaskers are also the most likely to social network with both online communities (20%) and friends (15%) about the show.

According to May 2012 survey results from Horowitz Associates, 6% of TV viewers with internet access at least occasionally interact about a show on social media in real time, rising to 8% among 18-34-year-olds.

Data from the IAB report indicates that smartphone multitaskers aren’t only more likely to talk about a show they’re watching, they’re also far more likely to perform a social activity related to an ad they’ve seen. In fact, 37% report having done something related to an ad, roughly double the proportion of tablet (16%) and computer (18%) multitaskers who have done so.

The most common ad-related activity for smartphone multitaskers is texting, emailing, or instant messaging with friends about ads (22%), followed by social networking with online communities about ads (16%), voice chatting with friends about ads, and social networking with friends about ads (both at 13%). Tablet multitaskers are most likely to social network with friends (9%) about ads, while computer multitaskers are most likely to social network with online communities (10%).

Other Findings:
  • Tablets multitaskers (34%) are slightly more likely than smartphone multitaskers (32%) to find out more about TV content and participate with something on the show. 
  • Movies (36%), news (32%), and drama (30%) are the most popular genres for smartphone multitaskers to talk about. For tablet multitaskers, news and reality (28%) are most popular, while for computer multitaskers, news (27%) has the edge over drama and reality (both at 23%).  
  • Roughly one-third of multitaskers play games or quizzes related or linked to TV shows, rising to 53% among device users aged under 25.
  • Computer users (93%) are more likely than tablet (88%) and smartphone (83%) users to engage in activities unrelated to the TV content they are watching. This means that more multitaskers across all devices engage in unrelated activities than do in related activities.
  • The most common unrelated tasks performed by these device users are emailing and generally surfing the internet, although roughly one-third also use Facebook or another social network. According to a separate IAB study released in May 2012, 32% of 2-screen owners (TV and computer) use social media while watching TV, rising to 49% among 3-screen owners (TV, computer, and smartphone), and 64% among 4-screen owners (TV, computer, smartphone, and tablet).

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Lance Hanish is Chairman/CEO and Chief of Imagination at Sophis1234 Data.Digital.Direct. He can be reached at Lance@Sophis1234.com; Facebook: http://on.fb.me/w88x5m Twitter: @Sophis1234; Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/sophis1234/  

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