Smaller devices drive up mobile TV attention

iphone-videoMobile TV viewers are more focused on TV content when viewed on their smartphones than on larger devices, according to the findings of additional analyses of a study conducted by Boston-based market research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey for the Council for Research Excellence (CRE).

The study – TV Untethered – was launched in November 2012 to understand if and how mobile media devices – tablets, mobile phones and laptops – impact overall television viewing behaviour. It encompassed nearly 6,000 participants and more than 393,000 TV viewing occasions, and included a quantitative phase, exploring video-user demographics, as well as a qualitative phase exploring users’ motivations and behaviours via in-home interviews in three markets – Atlanta, Phoenix and Kansas City.

Viewers performed unrelated multi-tasking on other electronic devices during only 14 per cent of the occasions on which they viewed TV programming on smartphones. This compared to 27 per cent for tablet viewing, 31 per cent for computer (desktop and laptop) viewing and 34 per cent of the television-set viewing occasions, according to study participants.

At the same time, viewers watching a TV show on a smartphone also were more likely to engage in online activities related to that show – such as looking up show information, or posting about the show on social networks. Such activity occurred during 21 per cent of the television set viewing occasions, 27 per cent for tablet viewing occasions, 31 per cent for computer viewing occasions and 39 per cent of the smartphone viewing occasions.

Other fresh findings:

* Mobile TV viewers tend to be younger (mean age 35), higher income professionals with graduate degrees, and reflect more ethnic diversity than non-mobile-TV users;
* The portion of overall TV-viewing devoted to mobile devices decreases for older mobile-TV users – 28 per cent for users ages 15-to-24, 18 per cent for ages 25-34; 12 per cent for ages 35-49; and 8 per cent for ages 50-64;
* Mobile TV viewers are often heavy overall TV viewers and are more likely than non-mobile-TV viewers to be TV show opinion leaders and to use social media to talk about TV.

The CRE previously disclosed study findings that 64 per cent of smartphone TV viewing occurs in the home – reflecting some simultaneous viewing with TV sets, which continue to dominate in-home viewing at 90 per cent. The top drivers of in-home mobile viewing cited by participants are content and device availability, family dynamics, device preference and inertia. Mobile TV viewers do most of their out-of-home smartphone – TV watching (23 per cent) at work. By contrast, only 14 per cent of computer-based TV viewing occurs at work, with 8 per cent for tablet viewing and 5 per cent for TV-set viewing. Convenience, portability and filling downtime are the top drivers of out-of-home smartphone viewing.

The study was overseen by the CRE’s Media Consumption and Engagement Committee, co-chaired by Joanne Burns, Head of Research for 20th Television, Fox; and Laura Cowan, Research Director, LIN Media.

“This research suggests greater audience measurement needs to be directed at smartphone viewing,” said Burns. “People are bringing devices from room to room, and out of the home, and on their commutes. TV sets still rule in the home, even for the younger demographics – but elsewhere, and even in the home for multi-taskers, smartphones are becoming an important device for viewing professional TV content. It all goes to convenience and portability; more people are watching more TV – everywhere – and increasingly on smartphones.”

“These insights to how people screen-shift TV content show new opportunity to reach a desirable audience, and emphasise the need to design future measurement to capture online and in-app viewing,” Cowan added.

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