TNS: TV strikes back, but not enough

Adults around the world remain hooked on television, but the consumption habits of content-hungry viewers are becoming “screenstacking”, according to global research consultancy TNS.

TNS' Connected Life , a study of over 55,000 internet users worldwide, shows almost half of people (48%) who watch TV in the evening simultaneously engage in other digital activities, such as using social media, checking their emails or shopping online.

APAC is ahead of this trend, with 54% of people across the region taking part in ‘screen-stacking’ activities, such as using social media, checking their emails or shopping online whilst watching TV. This varies across the region, peaking at 79% in Japan and coming in at just 37% in China.

The survey also found that consumers own approximately four digital devices each; this is just three across Asia Pacific, but rises to five among respondents in Australia, Japan, New Zealand and Taiwan.

This, combined with demand for TV and video content on-the-go, is fuelling the rise of multi-screening or ‘screen-stacking’ – the use of multiple digital devices at the same time.

The desire to access our favourite TV shows at all hours of the day is also driving online TV usage, which extends our access to them.

One quarter (25%) of those surveyed now watch content on a PC, laptop, tablet or mobile daily. This rises to one third (33%) in mainland China and Singapore and 32% in Hong Kong, where 'phablets' are increasingly popular.

In Hong Kong, more people actually choose to watch TV and video online rather than on traditional sets. After dinner, one quarter of people (26%) tune into content on their digital devices, in contrast to 14% who switch on their TVs.

Yet despite this surge in online consumption, traditional TV sets still play a huge part in our lives, with three quarters of respondents (75% globally and 73% in Asia Pacific) sitting in front of the box every day. TV dinners are also alive and well, with 76% globally and 74% in Asia Pacific giving TV their undivided attention while eating in the evening.

“This constant connectivity across multiple devices has come to the fore during the FIFA World Cup in recent weeks,” says Joe Webb, Head of Digital, TNS Asia Pacific.

“People the world over are engaging with the event in various ways across different devices – watching it on TV, tablet or mobile, whilst also engaging in conversations on social media. It’s a perfect example of how screen-stacking behaviour has really taken hold.”

Webb said it’s no surprise to the big trend towards screen-stacking in Asian markets as the appetite for online content is huge and growing all the time.

Television, however, still have a role to play, he predicts.

"Particularly during dinner, when we don’t have hands free to navigate on other devices. Our attachment to the TV has been supported by the rise in digital set-top boxes, catch-up TV and on-demand services."

“What’s clear is that media multi-tasking is here to stay and the implications for advertisers are significant – there’s a real opportunity for those that understand how to really integrate their activity in our increasingly connected world.”