Multiple Mobile Devices Used to Watch TV

Almost half of people who watch TV in the evening simultaneously engage in other digital activities, such as using social media or checking email.

mobile devices and television viewing

One-quarter of those surveyed worldwide watch TV content daily on a PC, laptop, tablet or mobile device, according to a report from research consultancy TNS.

This amount rises to one-third in mainland China and Singapore and 32 percent in Hong Kong, where phablets—mobile devices that fill in the gap between smartphones and tablets--are increasingly popular.

The report revealed that in Hong Kong, more people actually choose to watch TV and video online rather than on traditional sets.

After dinner, about one-quarter of people (26 percent) tune into content on their digital devices, in contrast to 14 percent who switch on their TVs.

Yet despite this surge in online consumption, traditional TV sets still play a huge part in peoples’ lives, with three-quarters of respondents sitting in front of the tube every day.

"In a world where multitasking is the norm, the context in which we watch TV is rapidly changing--it isn’t just on the sofa at home with no other digital distractions around us," Matthew Froggatt, chief development officer at TNS, said in a statement. "Instead, the growth in screen-stacking and online TV viewing is huge, particularly in the Asian markets, driven by a growing demand for content among viewers."

In the Connected Life study, which surveyed more than 55,000 Internet users worldwide, TNS found that almost half of people (48 percent) who watch TV in the evening simultaneously engage in other digital activities, such as using social media, checking email or shopping online.

"While there is no disputing that our love of traditional TV remains, advertisers must continue to adapt to our changing viewing habits," Froggatt said. "Online devices are offering more ways to access TV and video content, meaning that brands will need to adopt a more integrated online approach in order to engage consumers."

Already many of the major global media companies are already taking advantage of growing online viewing trends, offering on-demand services such as BBC iPlayer, Hulu or HBO Go, which allow people to access premium content wherever they are through their phones or tablets.

The survey found people own approximately four digital devices each, rising to five among Australian, German and U.K. respondents.

This, combined with demand for TV and video content on the go, is fuelling the rise of multiscreening or what TNS calls screen-stacking--the use of multiple digital devices at the same time.

On the less technological side, the report found TV dinners are also alive and well, with around three out of four viewers (76 percent) giving TV their undivided attention while eating in the evening.