If the notion of using your iPad or other tablet computing device while watching television seems foreign to you, a recent study from The Diffusion Group states that 38% of U.S. adult broadband users are currently participating in this phenomenon called “social TV” at least several times per year. Social TV viewing is defined by analysts as the use of mobile technology and the television set simultaneously.
Unsurprisingly smart phones are the most popular device being used for users to engage in social TV, which actually is twice as popular as tablet computers. The wide acceptance of mobile usage and the near critical mass usage of broadband and wireless internet in the home has played a major catalyst in the growth of social TV usage.
“As TDG predicted when the iPad was first introduced, in short order dual-device behavior would emerge, and that is precisely what is now taking place,” said Michael Greeson, Director of Research at The Diffusion Group.
“The real-time interaction of consumers with the TV program itself, not to mention other viewers, provides broadcasters with the opportunity to identify and market to finely filtered consumer segments with highly curated offerings,” he continued. Evidence can be seen in Comcast’s recent partnership and investment with Zeebox, which provides a customized second screen companion app experience for nearly 150 NBC programs.
Time Warner and HBO are looking to do the same with their HBO Go app, along with utilizing Zeebox in similar ways. The new report also explains that social TV engagement falls into two categories, users who talk and socialize with friends and families about the shows they are watching and those who are syncing their devices with their television to provide a well-defined second screen experience tailored fit for the show they are currently viewing.
More importantly the report outlines that those who are syncing their devices are more likely to make use of additional services like Netflix. Without a doubt mobile and tablet TV consumption, whether via streaming video or companion apps is definitely on the rise.