Mobile TV: When, What, Where

June 5, 2013

This article is included in these additional categories:

Digital | Mobile Phone | Television

CRE-TV-Viewing-Times-by-Device-June2013Mobile viewing may still represent just a small fraction of TV consumption, but that consumption is rising quickly, and marketers are keen to better understand the habits of the mobile TV audience. In a new study [pdf], the Council for Research Excellence examines when mobile viewing tends to take place, as well as which genres are preferred and where viewing typically occurs. The research finds some patterns that are distinct from viewing habits on a traditional TV.

Looking first at when mobile viewing occurs, the study illustrates that a plurality of tablet (22%) and smartphone (28%) TV viewing occasions tracked occurred during the daytime, between 9AM and 3PM. By contrast, when it comes to watching on a traditional TV, primetime (Monday to Saturday) accounted for a plurality 25% of viewing occasions, with daytime next at 19%. Additionally, late night (11:30 PM – 1AM) represents a larger share of viewing occasions on tablets (15%) and smartphones (12%) than on TVs (9%). Overall, tablet and smartphone viewing times tended to align more with computers than with traditional TV sets.

CRE-Preferred-Genres-by-TV-Viewing-Device-June2013Another discrepancy emerges when looking at the top genres, although the results could be a function of viewership times. In any case, on the traditional TV, news and business (31%) got the edge on drama (30%) and comedies (29%) as the top genres by percentage of viewing occasions. On both tablets and smartphones, though, dramas were the top genre, at 31% and 27% of occasions, respectively, with comedies next (at 20% and 24%, respectively).

In fact, news and business programs were far less popular on mobile devices than on TV. By contrast, smartphone viewers demonstrated an outsized affinity for adult animation shows. Sports accounted for a much larger percentage of viewing occasions on the traditional TV set (19%) than on tablets (9%), although the gap with smartphones (14%) was smaller. Once again, the mobile viewing patterns more closely resemble consumption on computers than on TVs.

CRE-TV-Viewing-Places-by-Device-June2013When it comes to where mobile TV is being viewed, the research adds to other studies that have shown that most mobile usage occurs in the home. Indeed, 64% of smartphone TV viewing occasions occurred at home, a finding that aligns almost exactly with previous research from the IAB. Outside of the home, smartphone TV viewing tends to occur most often at work or at the office (23%) and in transit or commuting (12%).

Tablet viewing is even more heavily performed at home, at 82% of the measured occasions.

About the Data: The sample base is of Americans aged 15-64 with broadband internet access at home, and who watch at least 5 hours of TV per week. The study, “TV Untethered,” was launched in November 2012 to understand if and how mobile media devices ”“ tablets, mobile phones and laptops ”“ impact overall television viewing behavior. It encompassed nearly 6,000 participants and more than 393,000 TV viewing occasions, and included a quantitative phase, exploring video-user demographics, as well as a qualitative phase exploring users’ motivations and behaviors via in-home interviews in three markets ”“ Atlanta, Phoenix and Kansas City.

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