nScreenMedia OTT multiscreen media analysis

TV multitasking doesn’t distract from shows, does distract from ads

social TV posters

TiVo says that virtually everyone engages in TV multitasking while they watch their shows, but that it mostly doesn’t distract from the TV experience. The same can’t be said for ads, where distracted multitasking is rampant.

TiVo says that virtually everyone multitasks while they watch TV, and 53% say they do so on a daily basis. TiVo includes any activity superfluous to the TV watching experience as multitasking. For example, 76% say they eat, 51% shop online and 27% exercise. The majority, 73%, say these activities do not distract them from the show they are watching.

The same cannot be said for the ad breaks. 62% say the almost always multitask during the commercials, and just 23% say they usually watch them.

Connected devices are the main way consumers multitask, with 53% saying they use one most or every time they watch. Smartphones were by far the most popular devices to use with TV, with 34% saying they habitually use them. Laptops (14%) and tablets (13%) were the second and third most popular.

Which type of content gets the least attention? The TiVo survey says 53% multitask during live TV, 28% during time-shifted, and 19% while watching streamed content.

One of the principal activities consumers engage in while watching TV is social media, according to Strategy Analytics Connected Home UX group. However, the group says that use in relation to what is on TV is low.

social TV posters by age groupNotwithstanding the Strategy Analytics findings, an increasing number of people are posting at least sometimes about what they are seeing. According to a new report from RingDigital, 29% say they have used social media at least once to vote, post, or share a comment about something on television. This is up 5% from last year. This activity is most common in the 18-24 year olds, 37.3%, and least common in the 55-65 year olds, 19.9%.

Facebook remains king of the social TV sites, with 80% of those that post about TV claiming they use it. Twitter is used by 22.2%, although usage has declined 12% over the last year. People are increasingly posting comments about YouTube videos they are watching at the site. Last year 6.3% said they posted on the site, and this year the number has more than doubled, to 14.3%. Other notable social TV sites include Instagram, with 8.7% saying they use the site to post about TV, and Snapchat (9.8%.)

The number one prime time genre that people post about is unsurprisingly sports, with 43%. Following sports are news (37%), drama (29%), reality (28%), and comedy (21%.) This ranking has remained the same for the last 12 months.

Why it matters

People are, by nature, multitaskers, and carry this trait with them to the television.

Connected devices are playing an increasing role in delivering opportunity to multitask while watching TV.

Most of this multitasking does not distract people from the TV show they are watching, though it does distract them from the ads.

Though usage is still low, people are using social media more to post about what they watching.


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  1. Pingback: Is Periscope the ace-in-the-hole for NFL on Twitter? - nScreenMedianScreenMedia

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