The Rise of The ‘Connected Viewer’

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NEW YORK—More than half of adult U.S. cell phone users, 52 percent, are multi-tasking while watching television. As more people multi-task, the implications for all content and marketing messages is being transformed, points out a new study by Pew Internet & American Life Project which just issued new research this summer.

Television’s solitary screen is being supplemented by multi-screen interactivity. Half of all adult cell owners (52 percent) have used their phones recently for engagement, diversion, or interaction with other people while watching TV. Pew measured the prevalence of these multi-screen viewing experiences by asking the 88 percent of American adults who are cell owners whether they had used their phone to engage in several different activities while watching television in the 30 days preceding an April 2012 survey. We learned that:

  • 38 percent of cell owners used their phone to keep themselves occupied during commercials or breaks in something they were watching.
  • 22 percent of cell owners used their phone to check whether something they heard on television was true or not.
  • 6 percent of cell owners used their phone to vote for a reality show contestant.

More questions were asked of the 57 percent of cell owners who download apps, use the internet, or use email on their phones:

  • 35 percent of cell owners who use the internet, email or apps on their phone used their phone to visit a website that was mentioned on television (that works out to 20 percent of all cell owners).
  • 20 percent of cell owners who use the internet, email or apps on their phone used their phone to see what other people were saying online about a program they were watching (that works out to 11 percent of all cell owners).

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