TV DEBRIEF: Audiences are valuable to advertisers and in the world of convergence, even more so. We see and understand the long tail of content, as it moves from one channel to the next and is screened on multiple platforms and devices. The commercial aim is to create more value to consumers and through re-purposing content across multiple devices, create more revenues for broadcasters and content suppliers.
A new study has found that second screening – or multi-screening (the long-tail of technology) – actually benefits television advertisers.. It keeps viewers present during ad breaks, does not affect ad recognition, encourages more television viewing and brings people closer to TV.
“Multi-screening is a huge benefit and opportunity for TV advertisers. Not just because it encourages people to watch more TV and more ad breaks – and does not adversely affect ad recognition – but because viewers now have the ability to act on what they see immediately. We’ve always multi-tasked in front of the TV but two screening is an incredibly complementary accompaniment,” says Neil Mortensen, research and planning director at Thinkbox in the United Kingdom.
The research, called ‘Screen Life: The View from the Sofa’, was done by COG Research for Thinkbox, and was designed to help the advertising community understand the context of multi-screening (watching TV and simultaneously using an internet-connected device such as a laptop, smartphone or tablet).
Combined research techniques were used to drive the research. Initially, over 700 hours of television viewing was filmed in the lounges of 23 multi-screening households. This then underwent psycho-physiological analysis to examine actual programme and ad break engagement.
The research was coupled with self-reporting from the households involved using COG’s award-winning digital ethnography technique*; a laboratory test to examine ad recognition; and online research among 2 000 people with TV and online access.
Multi-screening keeps viewers present for ad breaks
People in the sample were more likely to stay in the room or not change the channel during the ad break if they were multi-screening. Multi-screening viewers stayed in the room for 81% of ad breaks; viewers not multi-screening stayed in the room for 72%.
- 31% of people in the UK (with access to TV and the internet) chatted about TV programmes or ads on a second screen; this rises to 56% for 16-24s
- 22% chatted via text; 18% via social media; and 10% via mobile messenger services.
Multi-screening encourages more TV viewing
On average, when only one person was in the room and was multi-screening, 64% of their TV viewing sessions lasted for longer than 15 minutes. This compares to 47% when watching with no accompanying activity.
- When two people were present, as expected, due to increased interaction the figures were lower.
- 41% of viewing sessions were for longer than 15 minutes when multi-screening compared to 37% when watching with no accompanying activity.
Multi-screening does not affect ad recognition
In a laboratory test where participants were invited to watch TV and/or use a laptop without being made aware they were to be tested on TV ad recognition, there was no significant difference in the level of ad recognition between people when multi-screening or only watching TV.
Multi-screening brings people closer to TV
Participants in the Screen Life research reported that multi-screening – like other new TV technologies, such as digital recorders – makes them feel closer to TV as it enables them to research what they watch, share with online friends and participate.
Multi-screening appears to encourage more shared and family TV viewing
Interviews with households that took part in Screen Life showed that partners and children are more likely to keep a TV viewer company if they can multi-screen – whereas previously they might have not stayed in the room.
Multi-screening is establishing itself in the living room
People have always multi-tasked when watching TV; multi-screening is the latest accompaniment.
- 86% of people in the UK (with access to TV and the internet) have ever multi-screened
- 34% of the sample claim to multi-screen regularly
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