1 in 4 TV Viewers Uses Second Screen to Simultaneously Watch More Video

Ericsson-Popular-Second-Screen-Activities-Sept2013TV is increasingly part of a multi-screen experience, vying for viewer attention in a sea of multitasking behavior. Now it appears that TV is competing with something beyond the usual suspects (email, social networking, internet browsing): more video. According to a new study [pdf] from Ericsson ConsumerLab, 1 in every 4 TV viewers surveyed across a range of countries is using a second screen to watch 2 or more programs, live events, or shows at the same time.

That wasn’t the most popular second-screen activity, of course, but it’s another indication of the growing influence of mobile devices on video viewing. Indeed, among a subset of countries, owners of the respective devices reported spending less time watching TV on a weekly basis, and more time using portable devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets.

Ericsson’s list of identified activities being carried out on second-screens is by no means exhaustive, and tends to focus on more TV-related than unrelated activities. (Research has shown that most multi-screen behavior involved unrelated activities.) Nevertheless, it’s worth taking a look at the popularity of the various identified activities. The most common were: reading email while watching TV/video content (63%); using applications or browsing the internet to kill time (56%); using apps or browing the internet to find out more information (49%); and using social forums at the same time as watching TV/video content (40%). The study found fewer viewers competing with others watching the same show (14%) and interacting with the show through voting (13%).

While traditional TV is competing with online video sources, scheduled broadcast viewing remains popular. 83% of respondents from a subset of 9 markets (US, UK, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Taiwan, China, South Korea and Brazil) claim to watch scheduled broadcast TV more than weekly. That figure is up from 79% last year, and stable from 83% the year before.

By comparison, 63% of respondents from those markets are watching content on their own schedules, streaming on-demand and time-shifted TV and video content, including YouTube. The popularity of such content is gradually rising, from 62% last year and 61% in 2011.

About the Data: The study was conducted among around 15,000 respondents (1,000 per country) aged 16-59 in Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan, UK, and the US. All respondents were required to have a broadband internet connection and watch TV/video on a weekly basis. Almost all use the internet on a daily basis.