IAB study finds shifts in consumers’ TV viewing due to multi-screening + connected TV ownership

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o.jpgThe television viewing experience has changed forever according to research released yesterday by IAB Australia at its inaugural Leadership Summit.  The research explores new ground in the ongoing dramatic shift on consumers’ television viewing habits and offers marketers insights into reaching audiences as connected TV ownership and multiscreening becomes more prevalent.  


According to the study, “The Changing TV Experience: Attitudes and Usage across Multiple Screens”, which was conducted by VisionCritical for IAB Australia, second screening is now second nature and that streaming content has very strong momentum.  The report found that 71 percent of Australian consumers’ multiscreen while watching TV on a daily basis, predominantly using their smart phone as their second screen.  The data also showed that 70 percent of those who have purchased a smart TV in the past three months are streaming content weekly or more often.

Worryingly for broadcasters scheduling sport and reality TV, the research found that these two formats do not necessarily hold the attention of consumer.  Among multi-screeners just 37 percent of those watching sport give their full attention to the TV; 38 percent say their attention is on their second screen and 25 percent say their focus is half and half. The results are comparable for reality TV views, with just 36 percent giving the TV show their full attention.


The research suggests that marketers and publishers should take advantage of the second screen possibilities to deliver additional content to consumers related to the sports or reality shows being shown.


By contrast, consumers watching serious shows are more focused, with 61 percent reporting that they given their full attention to news shows without multi screening; while 53 and 55 percent watch only the TV for current affairs and documentaries.


According to Alice Manners, IAB CEO, connected TVs and multiscreening are irrevocably altering TV viewings.


Says Manners: “Despite our ongoing love affair with big screens at home, the TV viewing experience has undeniably broadened beyond the living room. With this transformation to a multiscreen video experience we now have more eyeballs, more engagements and a wealth of new opportunities for marketers to reach their audience no matter how they are connected.”


The research compares favourably to recent studies conducted in the US by IAB, which found generally speaking the USA is a more developed market in terms of streaming compared to Australia, and that there is higher incidence of smart TVs and smartphones in Australia relative to the USA.

  • In both Australia and USA Mobile devices are preferred for content under 15 minutes while Smart TVs are preferred for movies/ TV shows
  • The incidence of multi-screening is similar across the two markets (71 percent in Australia versus 78 percent in USA) and smartphones are the dominant second screen
  • Tablets and smartphones both being used significantly more whilst watching TV vs. a year ago in both markets (40 percent in the US versus 30 percent in Australia) but viewers’ focus is still primarily on the TV when using these mobile devices
  • Almost one in four Americans own a streaming device (vs. 15 percent of Australians)
  • A third of streaming device/ smart TV owners in the USA are using their devices daily to stream content (versus 20-23 percent in Australia)
  • Americans generally stream more on each device compared to Australians versus. a year ago.  One key driver of this difference between the markets is that a greater proportion of Americans subscribe to more sources for online video content (due to availability)
  • Greater experience of streaming content in the USA is potentially driving a more positive perception of the quality of the streaming experience compared to broadcast/ pay TV
  • One in five Australians versus one in four Americans who own a streaming device have acquired it in the past three months
  • Streaming devices is the key area of momentum for device usage, especially in Australia where 50 percent of owners are using their streaming device more than they were a year ago

Highlights of “The Changing TV Experience: Attitudes and Usage across Multiple Screens” can be viewed here.

The report was conducted by VisionCritical for IAB Australia. More than 1000 online interviews were conducted amongst a nationally representative sample of Australian adults aged 18+.