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Report Finds TV Viewers More Distracted

29 Aug, 2012 By: Doug McPherson

GLASGOW – The good news: Nearly half of all 16-to-24-year-olds discuss what they watch on TV. The bad news: They’re discussing those habits using messaging, E-mail, Facebook and Twitter – while they’re watching TV. That means seriously distracted TV viewing, according to a new report from the consulting giant, Deloitte.

The rise of the second screen (the use of other screens, such as laptops, smartphones and tablets while watching TV) is turning out to be a concern for many in the TV and technology industry. About 25 percent of all respondents who use second screens are between 16- and 24-years-old.

Only 10 percent browse the Internet for information about the program they’re watching. Some viewers (40 percent) like being able to send their comments to a live program. However, 68 percent wouldn’t want the websites for products, personalities or ads that have just been shown on television, to automatically appear on their computer, tablet or smartphone.

Paul Lee, director of technology, media and telecommunications research at Deloitte, says second screening’s impact is far greater in driving conversations about a program, as opposed to interaction with it.

“Second screening may well end up with a similar status as eating in front of the TV: an everyday experience for some; absolutely unthinkable for others. One thing is certain: it is here for good,” Lee says. “Browsing while watching TV typically means flitting between a preferred set of websites, often comprising news, sports and E-commerce. Time spent on these may be a substitute for reading newspapers and magazines, or looking through catalogs.”

The report elaborates on the findings: Any investment in second-screen content is likely to reduce resources for TV content. So program makers face a predicament. Should they invest all their funds and creative energies in making main-screen content as good as possible? Or should they blend the first- and second-screen experience, creating more impact in the currency of additional or more attentive viewers, and therefore greater revenue potential?

Lee says, “The challenge for second-screen content today is that it’s likely to be relatively expensive as we are still in an experimental phase. Money spent on second-screen content may be money diverted from the first screen; in order to justify the investment content creators need to get the balance right between all screens. In time, creating official second-screen experiences should become more formulaic and more easily reduced to a template. The more standardized second-screen content creation becomes, the easier it should be to attain a positive return on investment.”

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