In the U.S. Watching TV and Surfing the 'net Go Hand-in-Hand, KPMG Finds

Brenna Fitzgerald's picture
Brenna Fitzgerald on January 29, 2013

This week, the global accounting firm KPMG unveiled the results of a survey it conducted to investigate the digital media habits of consumers around the world. The International 2013 Digital Debate report uncovered some interesting statistics about our TV-watching tendencies here in the U.S. The major take away: Americans are multi-taskers, even when we’re supposed to be relaxing! Specifically, KPMG’s survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers and 9,000 global consumers reports:

  • In the U.S., 42 percent of respondents watch TV while also accessing the internet via a laptop or PC
  • On top of that, 17 percent of U.S. consumers polled surf the internet via their smartphone while enjoying TV entertainment
  • Beyond Internet browsing, the study also found that 22% of respondents log-in to a social network while catching up on their favorite programming

I wholeheartedly agree with the fact that the TV never truly has our full attention; I’m actually surprised that KPMG’s numbers aren’t higher. For instance, data that Nielsen released in November 2012 found that 85% of mobile device owners use their smartphone or tablet for multi-screen viewing. Regardless, both sets of data support broader emphasis on dual-screen advertising.

In fact, KPMG’s study found that 14 percent of those polled prefer to watch TV via their smartphone or tablet, rather than on a traditional TV screen. And--both on U.S. soil and globally--“digital natives” are actually experiencing media and entertainment for the very first time via mobile device. Given the number of babies I see playing with iPhones, I can anecdotally confirm this. What’s interesting, though, is that KPMG notes that with the shift to a mobile-centric existence, advertising tolerance is growing:

Consumers understand that advertising can underwrite the cost of the content they enjoy. In growing markets like China and Singapore, respondents are prepared to accept ads in exchange for lower prices or free content and services. Ultimately, advertising opens the door for paid content; independent research shows that U.S. consumers who own a smartphone and/or a tablet are three times more likely to say they are willing to pay for a streaming on-demand service such as Spotify than are those who own neither.

As online video ads and mobile use continue to grow and converge concurrently, it’s not surprising that content providers are readily embracing this phenomenon. And, again, this underscores the importance of an online video platform that can integrate with ad networks and also protect content providers against platform and operating system inconsistencies (yay Brightcove!).

You can review KPMG’s entire study here; it’s an interesting assessment of global digital media habits both here and abroad.

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