Popularity of the Second Screen: 40% of People Use a Tablet or Smartphone while watching TV

It’s certainly part of TV watching in my house—watch show, check for more info on iPad (or iPhone)—who is that actor or actress. What else was she in? Has this show been canceled? According to a Nielsen report over 40% of us use a smartphone or tablet while watching TV. But is this an opportunity for deeper engagement with shows, creative marketing, or just part of distracted, connected lives?

From the Nielsen post on the report:

What’s more is that tablets have forded the oft-treacherous age gap. Thirty-six percent of people age 35-54 years old and 44 percent of people 55-64 years old use their tablets while watching TV in order to dive deeper into programming. Nearly a third of tablet users age 25-64 check sports scores while watching games too. In fact, a majority of owners use apps while watching TV across the board.

A small digital divide between the sexes has been happening with smartphones, however. Over 40 percent of female smartphone owners use their smartphones at least once a day while watching TV. Men, one the other hand, use their smartphones much less. About 35 percent say they put their smartphones in use while channel surfing, giving new meaning to the phrase “pass the remote.”

The chart that comes with the PDF of the entire report (and the one they highlight) looks at the frequency and age break down of watching:

2012 12 05 14 00 14

However, what I find more interesting is the infographic on what people are doing:

2012 12 05 13 59 48

Depending on your age, you’re either looking for more info about a program or just doing something else entirely. It’s the first group who are the ones I think networks want to engage with. Maybe it’s as simple as “like that gadget used in the show, use this coupon code to get free shipping” (or whatever). It’s the distracted people who probably worry network execs. If people are half tuned-out of a show they are pretty likely to be really tuned out for commercials.

Do you use a second screen with when watching shows? What do you do?

Tomorrow evening I’m getting a sneak peek at how second screens could work at the movies. I’ll tell you more about that on Friday, but here’s the promo site from Cineplex for TimePlay.

HT: Mac Rumors

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  • Cooper

    It does not say that 40% of people use tablets or smart phones while watching TV. It says that 40% of people *who own those devices* use them while watching TV.

  • Kiwiholden

    But 70% of people lie on surveys

    • Cooper

      I agree with you 101%