In Canada, 71% of respondents in a recent Nielsen survey say traditional TV is either very or somewhat important in their lives today, which is much higher than the 34% who say Web-enabled TV is important.
Flash forward just three years and the responses change notably at both ends: 63% say traditional TV will be important, while 46% say Web-enabled TV will be.
"If there are any doubts that connectivity is increasingly affecting consumer behaviours and beliefs, the data should quickly put them to rest," the measurement company said. "In fact, almost 70% of respondents in a recent global survey believe digital exchanges are replacing face-to-face interactions. But how important is our growing digital dependence? The answer is very — and it's only going to increase going forward."
Connectivity away from the home or office is gaining in importance too. While beliefs about the personal computer today and in three years aren't drastically different, responses about the importance of mobile connectivity clearly illustrate the expectation that we're moving closer to being plugged in everywhere with each passing year.
In addition to fostering a boom in social TV, second screens allow consumers to multi-task across an array of other activities, like playing games, shopping and sharing photos with friends and family across social media networks. And when they participate in these and myriad other activities while watching TV, it's interesting to note that the personal computer is still the most popular second screen in the arsenal of devices. It's also noteworthy that 29% of consumers don't use a second screen at all while watching TV.
When it comes to different age groups, second-screen preferences vary. While 31% of all respondents use the computer most often, 36% of Millennials (age 18-34) prefer their smartphones. That drops to 8% among people age 55 and older. Viewers 35-54 are slightly more likely to watch with a tablet in hand, and people 55 and older are the most likely to watch without a second device.
"As device and connectivity penetration continue to grow in importance, the key for marketers is knowing what consumers look for and want as TV and Web-based devices merge," Nielsen said. "Because people are people, it's no surprise that the most important feature is the ability to receive rewards and incentives (55% of respondents). Other top features centre on how well advertisers know their customers: respondents want messages that are relevant (to needs and interest), customised and interactive."