Discovery Survey Unlocks the Tie Between Simultaneous Media Usage and Advertiser Engagement

February 10, 2012 | by aharris

Today’s guest post on Discovery Blog is from Beth Rockwood, Senior Vice President of Market Resources for Discovery Communications.

We live in an increasingly connected world with media consumption happening at home and often on more than one device at the same time, which has many questioning the impact of this behavior on the media industry. The results of a recent survey conducted by Discovery Communications focusing on iPad owners in the U.S. demonstrate that the simultaneous usage of digital platforms increases the viewer’s connection to programs and advertisements. Nearly half of those who use digital devices while watching TV revealed that they are more likely to search for a product they see advertised on TV, with about one-third saying they pay more attention to what is on TV when they are using their iPad/mobile device while watching.

This points to the fact that iPad owners have markedly different viewing behavior than that of the general population – tablet owners are actually more attentive and responsive to the programming and advertising than the average viewer.  In addition, they are influential within their social sphere, often sharing their opinions in real-time as a program unfolds through social media. Rather than being a distraction, our study found that tablets and other digital devices tend to be program “companions,“ enriching the viewing experience and offering the ability to interact with the program, brand and social networks while watching.

The study also confirmed iPad owners to be voracious video viewers, consuming decidedly more video content than non-iPad owners:

  • Two-thirds of iPad owners cite watching 10+ hours of video on alternative devices in a week.
  • iPad owners are 86% more likely than non-owners to watch 20+ hours of video on devices other than TV in a week.

Heavy video consumption among iPad owners is not limited to alternative devices. The study indicates that those with iPads are more likely to be heavier TV viewers than non-iPad owners, as iPad owners seek out multiple platforms to satisfy their appetite for content.

Hours of TV Watchedon a TV Set a Week

Simultaneous iPad and TV usage is increasingly serving as a way to extend and enhance the TV viewing experience, as with Shark Week Live.  When asked how often they watch TV and go online, 43% of iPad owners claim to do both “all” or “most” of the time.  A sizable number (25%) reported that going online while watching TV made them feel more connected to the show they were watching.

While the iPad is still owned by a relatively small portion of the U.S. population, it is estimated by 2014, there will be 61 million iPad users in the country, representing nearly 19% of the U.S. population. Currently, the iPad’s core user base skews towards technology adopters (young males and those in upper income brackets); however, adoption by the early majority and ultimately the masses is expected to evolve quickly. Personally, I know that the tablet has positively impacted my TV experiences.

TV viewing is being forever changed as new innovations altering the way (at least some of us) engage, but the traditional TV set remains and will likely continue to remain at the center of people’s video lives, with tablets and other digital devices becoming extensions of their viewing rather than a replacement.  Even with an increasing number of options, consumers still prefer the quality and social experience they can only get watching TV.

For more details, download the complete report from Discovery Communications.


  • http://www.conservatories.tv/ John Armstrong

    That is indeed a great observation Beth. I have also been using an iPad since last one year or so. But trust me I was never overly addicted to it. It is just more an ‘easy to use & carry’ thing for me. I do watch video, Live streaming also when I travel, but I think it can never replace TV.

  • Sifjr

    Who do you call to buy advertising? sifjr@msn.com

  • http://corporate.discovery.com/blog Discovery Communications Blog

    Delete.