Nielsen and NFL executives wondering what the deal is with the continuing double-digit drops in primetime viewership of its games on broadcast TV, take heed. A new report from eMarketer finds that Americans are increasingly distracted by their second-screen viewing devices — think mobile phones and tablets — while watching television.
The latest example of using social media to promote a show involves an interactive game that increased viewership of Psych by 10%.
Nielsen says that one in three people using Twitter in June sent messages at some point about the content of television shows, an increase of 27% from only five months earlier. And that was before the Olympics, which was probably the first big event to illustrate the extent of second screen usage.
No question second-screening offers networks and advertisers enormous potential. It’s pretty simple: get viewers intrigued enough with what’s on TV that they’ll interact with it simultaneously on another device. Will it catch on?
There is no doubt the second-screen TV viewing phenomenon is growing, at least among viewers of a certain age. But what are people really using their additional device for while watching the box?
While there are many strategies for capturing the magic of engagement, the world of the second screen looks to be the most promising. Just think about it: When was the last time you were without your smartphone or computer, especially while lounging at home in front of the TV? Second-screen innovation naturally promotes a higher level of engagement, encouraging users to interact with brands via exclusive content or media. And many advertisers and media agencies know the value of that engagement — not to mention companies looking to raise brand awareness or drive sales.
Nielsen data suggests that the vast majority of television viewers use a tablet, smartphone or laptop while they’re watching TV, diverting their attention from the shows and the advertisements that finance them. To bolster engagement, networks have launched apps and websites offering content related to their shows and social media chatter around those shows. In the process, they are competing with start-ups, television manufacturers and cable operators to see who can best take advantage not only of the proliferation of devices but of the rise of social media.
When viewers watch a TV program with a tablet device, they tend to check their email, hunt for sports scores or seek additional information about the show or a commercial they were watching on the big screen. A new report by Nielsen Co. underscores what network TV researchers have been preaching for more than a year: that “second screen viewing” appears to augment the TV viewing experience rather than steal away viewers.