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NEWS11 February 2016

TV set no longer the focal point, even when watching TV

Media News Trends UK

UK — Around 60% of the time a person is most highly engaged during an evening TV session is in non-TV related activity, according to a new IAB study. 

The Real_Living study involved gathering data from 1,500 people via a mix of surveys, passive filming, on-device tracking, daily diaries and biometric data, as well as incorporating data from the National Grid and British Gas. It was carried out by Sparkler on behalf of the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) UK. 

According to the findings, only 50% of online UK adults now say that the TV is the focal point of their living room, and 70% say they ordinarily use a connected device while watching TV. This rises to 87% of 16-34s. Multi device activity apparently peaks between 6-9pm. 

According to the biometric data, around 60% of the time a person is most highly engaged during an evening TV session is in non-TV related activity, such as using a digital device or having a conversation. 

“Second screening is ingrained to such a degree that all screens are now equal, there’s no hierarchy, only fragmentation of attention – actually switch-screening is a much more accurate term,” said Tim Elkington, the IAB’s chief strategy officer.

“Furthermore, entertainment is only a small part of the living room media activity. It’s now a multifunctional space where people jump between individual and group activities, be it shopping, social media, emails, work or messaging.”

The study also demonstrated that people no longer cram non-TV related activity into ad breaks. To illustrate this, it pointed to evidence from National Grid data compiled by British Gas: during the biggest TV event of 1990 – England’s World Cup semi-final against West Germany – there was a power surge equivalent to 1.12 million kettles boiling at the same time immediately after the match. In 2014’s biggest event – England’s World Cup match against Uruguay – the power surge was equivalent to just 410,000 boiling kettles.