Serious content holds serious attention: IAB TV report

Rachael Micallef
By Rachael Micallef | 28 August 2015

Serious content commands serious attention, according to a new television report from the IAB which found that 61% of consumers give their full attention to news shows without multi-screening.

The study, The Changing TV Experience: Attitudes and Usage across Multiple Screens, was conducted by VisionCritical for IAB Australia and found that 71% of Australians multi-screen while watching TV on a daily basis.

However, the levels of attention varied by type of show: 53% and 55% of consumers watching current affairs and documentaries, respectively, gave their full attention to shows without multi-screening.

However, just 37% of consumers watching sport gave their full attention to the TV, with 38% saying their attention is to the second screen and 25% saying their focus is half and half.

On a panel session at the IAB leadership summit, VisionCritical's Peter Harris said the TV viewing experience has changed forever and it's important to see the creative challenges and advertising opportunities around that.

“There’s a lot of money going in to sports and content rights, so it’s time to focus on where people’s attention is when they are watching,” Harris said.

Telstra director of digital media and content Adam Good, who moderated the panel, said while “behaviour has changed dramatically” around TV viewing it has largely been complementary to traditional TV.

“Everything seems to be additive. People are consuming television like experiences on different devices but we’re not seeing cord-cutting or anything disappearing, there just seems to be more of it,” he said.

MCN national digital sales director Nick Young, said the focus shouldn't be on competing with other devices it should be about consistency.

“TV is the experience and the device is just the delivery,” Young said. “It’s not one against the other [TV versus online view], it’s about quality and consistency across screens.

“The thought that multiple screens is taking away from the TV viewing experience just isn’t the case, it doesn’t lessen the screen time. There have always been other devices that distract from watching TV – like the kettle.”

The report follows a recent battle for the NRL and AFL sports rights by the major television networks, with Nine buying NRL until 2022 and Seven picking up AFL rights. Nine also picked up digital rights as part of its NRL deal.

In the company’s financial results announcement yesterday, Nine Entertainment CEO David Gyngell pointed to the importance of digital in the company's sports' offering.

“Digital rights are critical to us,” Gyngell said. “I think you need to own all rights. When we were negotiating, I just kept banging on that you have to own everything, everywhere.”

The report also found the attention results for sport were comparable with reality TV shows, with just 36% giving the TV show their full attention.

IAB CEO Alice Manners said the result suggests that marketers and publishers should take advantage of the second screen possibilities to deliver additional content to consumers.

“Despite our ongoing love affair with big screens at home, the TV viewing experience has undeniably broadened beyond the living room,” Manners said.

“With this transformation to a multi-screen video experience we now have more eyeballs, more engagements and a wealth of new opportunities for marketers to reach their audience no matter how they are connected.”

The IAB study also found that tablets and smartphones are being used significantly more while watching TV versus last year. However it also found that consumers using these devices are more likely to focus on the TV compared to multi-screening on a laptop, which commands more attention.

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