[opendtv] Re: How "second screens" are actually used

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 31 Jul 2013 07:40:07 -0400

Thanks for finding this Bert.

On Jul 30, 2013, at 6:48 PM, "Manfredi, Albert E" 
<albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> This article doesn't exactly say that people don't use their handhelds to 
> control their TV set, but it does explain what people are doing, and it ain't 
> controlling the TV set! If people aren't watching TV on the handheld 
> directly, then they do other stuff on the handheld while they're watching TV.

Not sure you can conclude that they are not controlling their TV, but you are 
likely correct, as remote control apps are still quite limited; most of the 
activity in this area has been related to allowing second screens to access the 
same content you can watch on the TV. Thus by definition, the send screen 
becomes the TV, rather than a controller.

> It explains these "second screens" are for content other than what is on the 
> TV, even if it's somewhat related to the TV show (e.g. looking up the actors' 
> backgrounds). Or chatting with friends, ordering stuff online, whatever. And 
> note that PCs are most used with TV.

What the article really says is that attempts to use second screens to 
encourage interactivity with a broadcast program have largely failed. This 
comes as no surprise, as "Interactive TV" has been going nowhere for decades, 
no matter the technology used to support it. It ALSO says that people use the 
TV as background noise while "multitasking." This is certainly the case in my 
household, where my wife is typically reading something on her Kindle or 
searching for something on her iPad, and I am often reading news on my iPad. 

I think Bert may be reading too much into the statistics about second screen 
devices. PCs are the largest category, primarily because so many people own 
them and have a TV in the same room - there is nothing here to suggest that 
these PCs are connected to the TV. 

The device stats also paint a troublesome picture of "distracted viewing," 
which is the real issue covered by the article:

> When analyzing usage of each individual device over the past three months, 
> PCs were the devices most used simultaneously with TV (60 percent), followed 
> by smartphones (55 percent), and tablets (49 percent).

As these percentage add up to 154%, one must wonder what the question was, and 
whether the respondent could have reported using more than one device. Given 
the spread is at most 10% between any of these devices, it suggests that second 
screen distraction is very common. 

Bottom line, the average TV viewer has the TV on for many hours each day; 
whether they are actually paying attention to the TV is another story. Many 
people "listen" to music while working too. 

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