Second Screen Disconnect

On this blog we've long predicted the rise of the second screen (if only because your correspondent spends much of his time on a PC or tablet in front of the TV). Now, an interesting report from Nielsen indicates that 40% of smartphone owners and 42% of tablet owners use their devices whilst watching TV on a daily basis.

However, what is more interesting is what is being done on the second screen.

The most popular activities are unrelated with what is going on on the main screen.

  • 60% of users are checking email.
  • 45% are surfing the web for information unrelated to what's on the box
  • around 47% of women are on social media sites
  • 44% of men check sport scores

On the other hand:

  • 29% check information related to the programme
  • 19% check information relating to products on the main screen

It's been amazing how slow broadcasters and programme makers have been in providing an adequate second screen experience (indeed, the vast majority of programme websites are simply appalling - more than usually just slapped on top by the marketing department and a third party web development agency afterwards rather than being an integral part of the production process.

Meanwhile, a survey from video platform company Brightcove makes strange reading. It claims that the average time for video viewing per visit to one of their sites averages, at most, 3 min and 36 seconds for broadcast content. For other types of content it's even lower. I have to say that these figures are phenomenally lower than any stats that I've seen on any of the video platforms I've developed and might be more of a reflection of the company's client base than an accurate measure of general usage on the web.