Is the second screen obsession over-rated?

By By Wenlei Ma | 28 February 2013

The media industry loves the second screen phenomenon, but most people aren't actually using their tablets to do things related to the programs or advertising they're watching on TV, according to a new study.

The primary way people (57% of respondents) use tablets while watching TV are to read messages or communicate with others in general terms. In contrast, only 33% of people are viewing related TV or advertising content while 23% said they actively searched for content related to what's on TV simultaneously.

The findings are from OzTam, Regional Tam and Nielsen's fourth quarter Multi-Screen Report. The researchers tracked 30 households' behaviours around their TV and tablet consumption.

The media industry has been trumpeting the advantages of the second screen, especially in conjunction with TV watching, as another avenue for advertisers to reach audiences.

Other findings in the report were Australians watched on average three hours and 11 minutes of TV daily with 93% of all viewing done on a traditional TV set. Ninety-three percent of traditional TV viewing is also live compared to 7% for playback within the week.

Twenty-seven percent of all homes owned a tablet at the end of 2012 compared to 15% at the start of the year. Internet-connected TVs are now in 20% of all homes.

OzTam chief executive Doug Peiffer said: “Initial findings suggest that as tablets quickly entrench themselves in Australian homes their role is complementary rather than rival to TV, which remains remarkably resilient in an era of extraordinary consumer choice.”

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