WARSAW: Internet users across Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) regularly go online using smartphones and tablets while watching television, but advertisers in many markets are failing to take full advantage of this trend, according to a new report.

Media agency MEC surveyed 5,000 internet users across five CEE markets, including Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Russia, for its Multiscreen Study and found that while TV advertisers were aware of the multiscreening trend only a few were taking care to continue interaction with their audience on another screen.

In the Czech Republic, for example, half of the advertisers who encouraged viewers to visit their websites in TV commercials did not have a mobile website; in Russia, 40% of marketers neglected this aspect.

"For those viewers who decide to follow the invitation this can mean discomfort turning the whole experience with the brand sour," MEC noted.

It is not as though only a few consumers are engaging in the multiscreening habit – 73% of viewers in Poland did so, with 59% using a smartphone. That figure rose to 91% in Romania, where 79% use a smartphone.

And the percentage of online users who searched the web for information about the brands advertised on TV ranged between 40% at the lower end for Hungary up to 77% for the Czech Republic and Romania; for Russia the figure was 74% and for Poland 58%.

Many of them carry out this activity during commercial breaks. "Paradoxically, although snatching some of the audience attention, smartphones or tablets often ensure that the audience stay in front of the TV screen," noted Rogier Croes, chief digital officer/CEE, Russia, Ukraine and CIS at MEC.

"Advertisers should seize the occasion," he added.

Combined television and internet spending accounts for between 60% (Hungary) and almost 80% (Poland and Romania) of advertisers' media budgets, making a large part of ROI dependent on how effectively those media are used in campaigns.

"The multiscreening phenomenon, which has changed and enriched the way we watch television over the recent years, is clearly underrated in the strategies of advertisers in the region," said Anna Lubowska, chairwoman/CEE, Russia, Ukraine, CIS at MEC.

Data sourced from MEC; additional content by Warc staff