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Published 28 February 2013 10:29, Updated 07 March 2013 15:57
Like to watch ... tablet devices such as iPads are taking on a role as TV’s second screen, used in conjunction with the programming on the main screen. Here Modern Family’s Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell) does a bit of couch surfing with his iPad. Photo: AP
The tablet has not killed TV – not yet at least. People are using tablet devices to complement their TV watching, rather than as alternative media to watch, the results of a survey across a handful of homes in NSW and Victoria shows.
Tablets are the most likely second screen to be used simultaneously with TV viewing – 43 per cent of people claimed to use them in this way once a month, compared with 40 per cent for smartphones and 24 per cent for laptop computers, the study by Nielsen, and free-to-air TV bodies OzTAM and Regional TAM finds.
Rather than replacing TV, however, tablets are used for emailing and communicating with friends, searching for products and services and viewing content related to the program or advertising, the report says.
The survey, of just 30 households, is too small to be seen as representative of the wider population.
But its findings reflect those of a separate Google study, Understanding Tablet Use: A Multi-Method Exploration, of 33 tablet users, which found that 60 per cent of respondents watched TV while using their tablets.
“Initial findings suggest that as tablets quickly entrench themselves in Australian homes, their role is complementary rather than rival to TV, which remains remarkably resilient in an era of extraordinary consumer choice,” OzTAM chief executive Doug Peiffer says.
TV ... remains remarkably resilient in an era of extraordinary consumer choice.
The findings are released alongside those of a separate report by Nielsen and the two audience measurement groups show Australians watched an average three hours and 11 minutes of TV a day in calendar 2012, down just slightly from the average of three hours and 18 minutes in 2003.
In a fast-changing world of information and entertainment, consumption and growing competition for advertising revenue, staying relevant to an audience of consumers is crucial to commercial television. The industry will welcome figures showing the importance of their medium has not been weakened by smartphones and tablet devices.
While about a quarter of people claim to use the tablet to watch any kind of video in a month, only 2 per cent of individuals in the limited tablet study said that they used tablet devices to watch TV programs broadcast on free-to-air or subscription television networks.
Other findings from the fourth-quarter Australian Multi-Screen Report were that 93 per cent of all viewing was by the traditional television set, on average 91 hours and 5 minutes per month. The same proportion – 93 per cent – of all TV viewing was done live, with playback accounting for 7 per cent (six hours 30 minutes a month) of viewing.
While viewing varies according to seasonal and other factors, the average monthly viewing volume in the last quarter of last year was down from a year earlier.
In the fourth quarter of 2011, the figure was 94 hours and 24 minutes, the report shows.
By the last quarter of last year, the proportion of homes with complete penetration of digital terrestrial television – meaning all working TVs in the home could receive the digital terrestrial signal – had risen to 81 per cent from 70 per cent a year earlier, the report says.