Second Screen Distracts From TV Ads: Study

August 11, 2014 Ben Myers
Image wikipedia.

Image wikipedia

Scandal might be a thoroughly gripping drama, but occasionally, I find myself glancing down at my phone for alerts or checking Twitter during the show’s establishing shots.

I might be missing out on some of the show’s atmosphere, but it’s practically an unconscious reflex to see what my social network are up to every few minutes, when I’m kicking back on the couch, especially during commercial breaks.

This could make advertisers worried. Commercials are a traditional downtime for TV-watchers, but these days they’re not just rushing to the bathroom or getting a snack. Now, second-screen experiences (sometimes promoted by the show itself, and often by social networks) could be exposed as a detriment to the advertisement that supports the show.

A study commissioned by online and tv advertising network wywy said that nearly half of viewers used a mobile device while watching a show (Nielson), and that second-screen usage during a program reduced TV ad awareness by 50%.

“This study again confirms to advertisers that attention is turning away from the TV towards second screen devices, especially during commercial breaks,” says Dr. Andreas Schroeter, co-founder and COO of wywy.

“Nearly half of the TV viewers use their tablet or smartphone to write emails, read news or surf on social networks while watching TV. New cross-media technologies synching TV and online ads are now proving to be an effective solution in recapturing the viewers’ attention as it diverts to the second screen.”


As you can imagine, wywy puts forward its cross-platform advertising solution as a way to boost awareness. Their technology synronizes the ads shown on mobile with the ads shown on TV, effectively making the ads harder to ignore when the viewer switches devices.

As viewers integrate their mobile and TV watching experiences, this distracted TV watching should be a trend to keep and eye on, as well as an interesting battle as advertisers seek to win back or keep viewers’ attention.

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