Contrary to what is happening elsewhere in Europe, the UK is still very much focused on the big screen when it comes to TV viewing, despite also having the highest smartphone penetration of any other country.
According to the Millward Brown AdReaction 2014 study investigating multiscreen uptake and the commensurate potential for advertising, UK multiscreen users still favour the television in contrast to other countries where smartphones are used more often than the television, laptop or tablet.
UK TV viewers spend an average of two-and-a-half hours a day or 36% of their screen time watching TV, more time daily than any other country. A typical multiscreen user in the UK for example consumes just less than seven hours of screen media over the course of a day in just five hours, meaning the user has two screens on the go at the same time for two hours every day. However they spend 68% of their time ‘shifting’ between their screens in a non-simultaneous way.
Overall the survey found that as people increasingly use more than one screen to access content, they are consuming more content in less time. Most people start multiscreening while watching TV and continue on their tablet or smartphone. The most common device used in sequence after TV time is the smartphone.
TV is very much centre stage in evenings, when tablet usage also peaks (55 minutes or 13% of time daily). Daytime screen time is dominated by smartphones (111 minutes or 27% of time daily) and laptops (97 minutes or 24% of time daily).
Looking at the emerging synching phenomenon, the survey found that only 7% of simultaneous multiscreeners are meshing, defined as accessing related content such as watching TV while searching for programme information or chatting to their friends about the content. Although this is lower than almost all markets, it can be very stimulating and may suit brands that favour engagement over reach. Meshing is most likely to be undertaken by under 25s and males (via smartphones and tablets). Nearly a quarter of those surveyed, 24%, are stacking: accessing unrelated content on their other screens while watching TV.
Millward Brown believes that such dynamics present brands with opportunities to take more advantage of synergistic multiscreen advertising campaigns and exploit the gap between time spent on mobile screens and media investment. “Most brands don’t advertise across all media all of the time,” said research director Martin Ash. “However … consumers with access to multiple screens at home are using and switching between their devices regularly, albeit in different ways at different times … users make journeys between their devices which marketers can use to be more present, creating ad campaigns that are creative and enable deeper engagement with consumers wherever and whenever they are most receptive to advertising.”