TV in a Multi-Screen World: Council for Research Excellence Reveals Study Findings

TV in a Multi-Screen World Council for Research Excellence Reveals Study FindingsWhat’s happening with TV in a multi-screen world where attention is definitely divided?

The Council for Research Excellence (CRE) just unveiled findings from a pair of research studies designed to help answer the question of what it means to watch TV in today’s multi-screen world.

“The CRE’s mission is to help the research community better understand how audiences consume media as a means of improving research methodology and, in turn, the quality of audience measurement,” said Billy McDowell, Vice President, Research for Raycom Media and Chair of the CRE. “These two new studies help us in our quest by tackling the complex issue of what exactly is meant by ‘watching TV’ in today’s highly fragmented video media world.”

The studies explored concurrent platform usage among six different media platforms: TV, computer, smartphone, audio, print, and tablet/e-reader.

Some revelations?

  • Many people use media concurrently in a typical day but not for a long time.
  • 68 percent of the general population of P13+ use at least two media platforms concurrently in an average day.
  • Only 14 percent of the total media day is spent using two or more media platforms concurrently.
  • The heaviest concurrent platform users account for the majority of the behavior.
  • Only one in five (19 percent) P13+ is a heavy concurrent user (defined as having six or more concurrent platform activities in an average day).

Interestingly, smartphone users are especially likely to use this platform concurrently with another platform in an average day — and TV, computer, and smartphone are especially likely to be used in combination with each other in an average day.

But don’t count TV out. It still gets a whole lot of attention.

“The concept of “attention” is a complicated one,” noted one of the studies. “Attention is not necessarily correlated with presence and it is impacted by many factors, including multi-screen usage. In some cases, lack of attention might not even correlate to lack of engagement, as in a case where a viewer is using a second screen to look up information about the show being watched.”

In sum, TV still matters — especially when it comes to a very simply human need: comfort.

“TV remains king. Even with the proliferation of second and third screens, the TV is almost always the preferred viewing device, regardless of demographics. Viewers prefer the TV for its size, quality of picture and sound, and, commonly, its location in parts of the home that are more comfortable for viewing.”