Tablets boost TV viewing

27 March 2013

LONDON: Almost half of tablet owners say they watch more television now than they did five years ago, a global study has found.

BBC World News and BBC.com/news worked with InSites Consulting to survey news consumption among 3,600 people across Australia, Singapore, India, the United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Poland, Germany, France and the US.


Study participants were top income earners owning at least three devices including TVs, tablet, smartphone and laptop and desktop computers.

Results revealed that second screening for news is becoming commonplace among such respondents. In all, 43% of tablet owners reported watching more TV now than five years ago, with 83% using their tablets alongside TV.

The survey also found that, rather than taking media time away from each other, different platforms can work in a complementary way, allowing people to tailor their device usage throughout the day.

Smartphones and laptops were most popular during the working day, with usage peaking at around 1pm. TV usage spiked from 5pm onwards, and at its peak time of 7pm TV use was 50% higher than for any other device.

"Avid news consumers are hungry for information wherever they are and expect to stay in touch on all the devices they now own," said Jim Egan, CEO of BBC Global News Ltd.

"There's been speculation for years that mainstream uptake of smartphones, laptops and tablets will have a negative impact on television viewing, but this study has found that the four devices actually work well together, resulting in greater overall consumption rather than having a cannibalising effect."

According to the research, TV still dominates overall usage, taking 42% of people's news consumption time compared with laptops (29%), smartphones (18%) and tablets (10%).

News audiences suggested they were accustomed to seeing advertising on television, with 87% of respondents expecting it. Similar elevated levels were recorded for the online platforms and smartphones, on 84%, with tablets on 79%.

While people responded to advertising across all screens, desktop users were most likely to take action, with one in four responding to an ad they had viewed during the previous four weeks.

Comparable figures for TV were one in five, and for mobile one in seven.

Data sources from BBC World News; additional content by Warc staff