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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : October 22, 2013

Mobile, not TV, considered 'first screen' among half of 18-34 age group

New research has revealed that, among younger demographics, the television is taking a back seat to mobile. M-commerce platform Weve reveals that almost half of younger mobile users now consider the smaller of the two screens to be their 'first screen'.

by Helen Leggatt

I suspect it's a conversation going on in thousands of households across the globe - do we still need the television? Certainly, in my household, the goggle box is more often than not lurking dark and brooding in the corner of the room as we sit nearby juggling laptops, smartphones and tablets. Even if the television is switched on, we're still juggling our mobile devices.

Whether mobile is killing television is a debate that has been raging for some time. However, most research has highlighted that, despite adoption of mobile devices, people are still watching television and it remains their 'first screen'.

But, times are changing and new research from m-commerce platform Weve has found that, among 18-34 year olds in the UK, almost half (46%) now consider mobile their first and most important screen.

Overall, across all ages from 18 through to 55+, 28% of respondents say that mobile devices are now their first screens, slightly ahead of television at 27%.

"The rise in importance of mobile is well-documented, but this research shows the true extent of consumers' changing relationship with the devices in their pockets," says David Sear, CEO of Weve. "Today, over 32% of our 20-million, opted-in customer base are actively using their mobile as their first screen and most importantly going online and purchasing through their device."

ThinkBox managing director, Lindsey Clay, believes the debate about whether mobile can be compared with television is irrelevant and that the mobile industry appears "obsessed with hierarchy and comparing itself to TV". This misses the point, she says, which is that "mobile is not an equivalent of TV or its rival; mobile is technology, TV is content and lots of TV is watched on mobile screens".

Indeed, what the two industries need to focus on is television and mobile's "potent combination".

Earlier this year, Nielsen published the results of a survey that showed 85% of people use their tablet or smartphone while watching television at least once a month; 40% do so daily. Forty one percent use a tablet, while slightly less use a smartphone (39%).

But, are these second-screeners using their mobile devices to distract themselves, during ad breaks for example, or are they actively engaging with programming and brands that are advertising?

The answer, says Nielsen, is a bit of both. Almost half used their tablet to check up on details such as actors and plot lines, or information on sporting teams and personalities. Three-quarters looked up "general information", while more than two-thirds (68%) surfed the web, and over half (53%) logged in to a social networking site.

A significant 20% used their tablet to purchase something they had seen advertised while watching television, proving that second-screeners are yet another way for advertisers to connect with audiences.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: mobile, multi-screen, research, second screen, television, UK

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