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Second screen usage encourages more TV viewing, says study

Using a second screen while watching TV encourages more viewing, according to a new study by Thinkbox.

The ‘Screen Life: The View from the Sofa’ study examined 700 hours of footage from 23 multi-screen households in the UK for a week, and concluded that people are more likely to stay in the room or not change the channel during the ad break if they are multi-screening.

The study, which also included 2,000 additional online interviews with consumers, found that of those multi screening – i.e. using a laptop, mobile or tablet device while watching TV – 81% stay in the room during commercial breaks. In comparison, only 71% of TV viewers not multi-screening tend to remain in the room during commercial breaks.

People have always multi-tasked when watching TV and multi-screening has merely become the latest accompaniment, Thinkbox said. Eighty-six per cent of people in the UK with access to TV and the internet say they have multi-screened, with 34% claiming to do so regularly.

Participants in Thinkbox’s research reported that multi-screening makes them feel closer to TV as it enables them to research what they watch, share with online friends and participate. Thirty-one per cent of people in the UK say they have chatted about TV programmes or ads on a second screen, a figure that rises to 56% for 16-24s.

The study added that multi-screening does not appear to affect ad recognition. In a laboratory test where participants were invited to watch TV and/or use a laptop without being made aware they were to be tested, there was no significant difference in the level of ad recognition between people when multi-screening or only watching TV, Thinkbox said.

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