The “Connected Viewer” mostly disconnecting from television ads

Increasingly, especially among smartphone users, television viewers are turning to their mobile web while they’re watching. This is what Pew Research is calling the “Connected Viewer,” and their “second screen.”

But just what is that Connected Viewer doing with their second screen? Voting in online polls about the show they’re watching? Nope. Twittering or commenting about the show they’re watching? Niet. Visiting a website advertised to them on their TV? Barely.

They’re using their phones as a means of distraction while the commercials are on. That’s right. According to Pew’s research, of the respondents who said they did use their phones while watching television, the single most common activity – a convincing 38% – was to keep themselves occupied during commercials or breaks:

  • 38% of cell owners used their phone to keep themselves occupied during commercials or breaks in something they were watching
  • 23% used their phone to exchange text messages with someone else who was watching the same program in a different location
  • 22% used their phone to check whether something they heard on television was true or not
  • 20% used their phone to visit a website that was mentioned on television
  • 11% used their phone to see what other people were saying online about a program they were watching, and 11% posted their own comments online about a program they were watching using their mobile phone
  • 6% used their phone to vote for a reality show contestant

Not exactly the kind of thing advertisers wanted to hear. But then maybe what they ought to be doing in that case is investing in better (and more) web advertisement?

By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.