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Few Use Second-Screen Apps While Watching TV

17 Apr, 2013 By: Doug McPherson

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. – Only a fraction of consumers use specially designed companion apps on laptops, tablets and smartphones while watching TV, says a new study by NPD Group.

While there’s plenty of multitasking, most viewers aren’t using devices to interact with second-screen apps, inviting users to check in for rewards, participate in play-along games and polls, and other activities related to TV shows.

Instead, they’re usually learning more about the show they’re watching – like learning about actors. Viewers often turn to IMDb, Wikipedia and social networks rather than apps intended to enhance the second-screen experience like Viggle, Zeebox and others.

The study found that among viewers who use second-screen devices, 47 percent have engaged in second-screen activities. NPD says 88 percent of U.S. households own at least one device that can be used as a second screen, with 87 percent reported using at least one device while watching TV. PCs were the devices most used simultaneously with TV (60 percent), followed by smartphones (55 percent) and tablets (49 percent).

Russ Crupnick, a senior vice president at NPD, says it all points to a “potential diversion” from advertising, and it’ll take a combined effort from content owners, advertisers, broadcasters and others to present an aligned second-screen experience that will appeal to viewers.

However, the study did unearth 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,” Crupnick says.

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