Multitasking While Watching TV

Research from Ericsson, a communications technology company specializing in mobility, broadband and the cloud surveyed more than 30,000 internet users worldwide ages 16 to 69 who have a broadband internet connection at home and watch TV and view video on a weekly basis. Generally, the study found that more respondents are conducting digital activities via a smartphone or tablet, while at the same time watching TV, than they did in 2014.

For example, two years ago, less than a quarter of TV and video viewers said they browse the internet, related to the content they were currently watching. Fast forward to 2016, and nearly a third of respondents said they were doing so.

Similarly, in 2014, 15% of respondents said they watched two or more programs at the same time. This year, 20% said they did.

Separate data from eMarketer also finds that Americans’ attention is increasingly divided among an ever-expanding array of internet-connected devices, and the number of people multitasking while watching TV continues to rise.

A survey from TiVo also indicates that digital viewers multitask while watching TV. More than half of respondents said live television was the TV or video format during which they most likely multitasked.

 

US Connected TV Audience

By 2020, connected TV users will represent 71.2% of internet users and 60.4% of the US population, up from 68.0% and 56.1%, respectively, in 2016.

Smart TV viewers will make up an increasing number of the connected TV user base during eMarketer’s forecast period. By 2020, 34.4% of connected TV users in the US will watch on smart TVs, up from 26.9% in 2016.

Smart TVs won’t be the only growth category within the group of devices that make up the connected TV universe. Amazon’s and Google’s streaming devices will enjoy the most growth from 2016 through 2020, followed by Roku players and smart TVs. Apple TV and game consoles will grow more moderately, while Blu-ray players will remain essentially flat.

Connected TV users as a whole will increase by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.68% from 2016–2020—a lower growth rate than that of every device listed separately except Blu-ray players. This suggests people will increasingly use multiple devices, driving up the growth rates of individual devices more than the category as a whole.

As is typical with connected TV data, the number of households closely follows the number of users, with an average of 2.06 users per US household during the forecast period. By 2020, there will be 97.7 million US connected TV households, up from 88.7 million in 2016. Much like the user figures, growth will top 20% this year and recede into the single digits next year and for the rest of the forecast.

A GfK study titled “Over-the-Top TV 2016: A Complete Video Landscape” found that 36% of US internet users owned connected TV devices in 2016, nearly double the 19% who did in 2014. This particular stat was limited to set-top boxes and streaming sticks, and did not include smart TVs, game consoles, or Blu-ray and DVD players, though the full study looked at all of the above.

Connected TV accounted for 20% of US weekly time spent viewing digital video in August 2016, according to a Frank N. Magid Associates study. Mobile devices made up a combined 33%, while the largest share, 46%, went to computers. Even though connected TV had the smallest share of the three major device platforms, it grew by a factor of 2.5 in the two years leading up to the study, according to Magid.

 

Another Round with Games

Facebook beta-launched 17 games, including old school titles like Pac-Man and Space Invaders, which can be played in app, whether the user is on a desktop, laptop or, more likely, a mobile device.

While Facebook’s sharing and communications utilities are what made it the cultural juggernaut that it is, gaming has played an outsized part in its history, contributing a significant amount of its revenue in the early days, when it was still experimenting with ways to unlock the advertising potential of the platform.

A survey by AYTM suggests that game-playing is still a widespread activity on Facebook. AYTM found that almost half of social network users said they played games on social platforms at least occasionally, and half of those said they did so regularly. While the survey didn’t ask about gaming on specific platforms, Facebook users predominated the survey group—92% of those who said they used social networks were on Facebook.

The AYTM survey suggests that, at least at the moment, user interest in playing games on a social platform is not likely to change much. When asked if they were likely to play a social game in the next year, 38.7% said they probably wouldn’t —almost the same number who said they had never played a social game.

Some 15% of the time users spend on Facebook is devoted to games, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, and games generate $45 million in monthly revenue, down from $65 million in December 2011, according to a Piper Jaffray estimate.

At that level, games make up only small slice of Facebook’s overall revenue. Most gaming revenues are accounted for in Facebook’s financials as “payments and other.” eMarketer estimates that such revenues will make up less than 3% of the company’s total this year. That revenue mix is not projected to change much over the next two years.

 

Almost Half of Music Listening

In May 2016, Edison Research studied more than 8,500 US consumers ages 13 and older and how much time they spent listening to music. Almost half (or 44%) of all time spent listening to music was spent on the AM/FM radio format, followed by listening to music participants had purchased (including CDs and digital music files) at 18%. Streaming accounted for 17% of music listening time. Devicewise, AM/FM radio came on top again. More than 40% of music listening time was spent with traditional radio receivers. Meanwhile, 23% was spent with mobile devices and 16% with desktop and laptop PCs.

Despite the evidence that radio continues to have a hold on the largest share of the music-listening market, subscriptions to streaming music sites are growing globally. In separate April research from International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, an estimated 68 million people were music service subscribers in 2015, compared to 41 million the year prior.

Simultanous media use while watching TV is nothing new. Many internet users surf the web or conduct other activities while watching TV. In fact, the number of people multitasking while watching TV continues to rise, while cord-cutting also accelerates, according to eMarketer.

Another 30% pointed to event spaces as places they would want to experience VR technology. Nearly as many said they wantd to use VR while watching sports outside the home. Many consumers in Japan are skeptical of VR. But there’s a certain level of excitement, as well: 40% were excited about purchasing the PlayStation VR. But perhaps the main obstruction to VR technology is a simple ignorance around it: Over 40% of men ages 50 to 69 don’t even know what VR technology is, and over 50% of women the same age reported the same in May 2016, according to a Mobile JustSystems survey.

Launch new services

Radio-style services are amping up their streaming offerings to give users control over what they listen to; at the same time, streaming services are pushing to provide more programmed experiences for users, who don’t always want to create their own playlists.

With its new Premium option, which will carry the now-standard price tag of $10 a month, Pandora touts on-demand, ad free streaming and the ability to save songs and albums offline, similar to other all-you-can-eat streaming services. What sets Pandora Premium apart is its ability to suggest personalized songs for playlists, music searches and browsing based on individual listening history.

Pandora is the clear leader among all digital radio services. According to September 2016 data from comScore Mobile Metrix, Pandora is the ninth most popular smartphone app among US adult smartphone users, with a reach of 40.5% of US smartphone users. Apple Music is the only other music streaming app in the top 15, with a reach of 34.2%.

Users are already spending a significant amount of time listening to Pandora, even before its launch of Premium. eMarketer estimates that, on average, US adults spend more than 11 minutes per day listening to Pandora, which works out to more than 3% of all digital time. The average includes adults who don’t use Pandora; among Pandora users, time spent listening to the service totals 46 minutes a day.

The announcement of Pandora Premium follows its September 2016 launch of Pandora Plus, an updated version of its Pandora One offering, which costs users $5 per month. Plus users are able to listen to Pandora’s radio service ad-free at higher quality streams, with unlimited skips and replays, and includes an offline-listening option.

Pandora Premium’s unveiling came on the heels of iHeartRadio’s announcement of two new services, iHeartRadio Plus and iHeartRadio All Access. Like Pandora Plus, iHeartRadio Plus will let users search, save, replay and skip songs while listening to a live digital radio stream for $4.99 per month.

 

US Social Media Big Users

Indeed, social media users were more than three times as likely to conduct TV-related actions on Facebook than they were on Twitter, including commenting, posting, sharing or voting in response to content they saw on TV. And they were nearly four times as likely to do so on Facebook than on Instagram, the study from Ring Digital, a marketing and product strategy firm for the TV and video industry, found.

That’s not really that surprising given that Facebook’s user base is so huge. This year, there will be 143.5 million US Facebook users, according to eMarketer. To compare, Twitter has 52.2 million users, Instagram has 67.2 million, Snapchat has 58.6 million and Tumblr has 23.2 million. YouTube does have more US users than Facebook does—180.1 million—but YouTube activity is not really centered around communication like status updates or discussions.

Simultanous media use while watching TV is nothing new. Many internet users surf the web or conduct other activities while watching TV. In fact, the number of people multitasking while watching TV continues to rise, while cord-cutting also accelerates, according to eMarketer.

Separate research from TiVo also found that most digital viewers multitask while watching TV. More than half of respondents said live television was the TV or video format during which they most likely multitasked.

Know The Most Internet Users in Japan

Of the 34.3% of respondents who said they would prefer to experience VR technology somewhere other than their own living rooms, nearly a third listed movie theaters as a location where they would be interested in using VR technology.

Another 30% pointed to event spaces as places they would want to experience VR technology. Nearly as many said they wantd to use VR while watching sports outside the home.

Many consumers in Japan are skeptical of VR. But there’s a certain level of excitement, as well: 40% were excited about purchasing the PlayStation VR.

But perhaps the main obstruction to VR technology is a simple ignorance around it: Over 40% of men ages 50 to 69 don’t even know what VR technology is, and over 50% of women the same age reported the same in May 2016, according to a Mobile JustSystems survey.

Men were more likely to be interested than women, though it’s worth noting that more men ages 15 to 19 knew what a VR system was and weren’t interested than any age range younger than 60 (though that simply may be because they more often knew what VR was).

 

Finding a Balance with Ads

More than a third of mobile game professionals surveyed by game analytics company deltaDNA said their primary concern when setting ad frequency within free-to-play games was about depressing player engagement levels.

More than a quarter of respondents said they were primarily concerned about lower levels of player enjoyment, and 14% of mobile game professionals worry most about churn—that they’ll be cycling players in and out as they grow frustrated, rather than growing their user base.

Mobile game professionals weren’t just worried about player interaction. For example, 6% said they were concerned about potential loss of in-app purchase revenues, and nearly as many were concerned about a drop in ad fill rate.

Though advertising within mobile games can be intrusive to users, that’s not to say that all players dislike seeing it. Much of the advertising within mobile games is rewards-based, and research from Unity Technologies found that nearly half of US mobile gamers who play at least monthly prefer viewing rewarded video ads in free-to-play games.

Moreover, some 29% of respondents said they preferred full-screen picture ads to support their free gaming habit.

Worldwide, and aside from the VR professionals themselves, it’s also encouraging that investment in VR and AR companies has been on the rise. According to CB Insights, a venture capital research firm, since early 2014, more than $2.5 billion has been invested in VR and AR companies across more than 200 deals.

AR Workers Confident in Profitability

From Facebook’s Oculus Rift to Snapchat Lenses, the immersive media space has certainly become a headline grabber. But the big question is: How profitable could virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) activities be in the near future? According to July 2016 research, fewer than half of VR professionals in the Americas anticipate gains from this work over the next 12 months.

In July, Greenlight Insights (formerly Greenlight VR) and Road to VR surveyed 514 VR professionals in the US, Canada and Mexico about their expectations on profitability of both VR and AR activities.

According to the data, 45.2% of respondents felt that their VR and AR activities will be cost-effective to their organization in the next 12 months. In contrast, 22.4% said they do not anticipate being profitable in that timefrome.

Of those that are expecting profits, 35.7% of VR professionals anticipate hitting VR- and AR-related revenues of $250K or less, according to the same study. But even more promising, another 38.4% are forecasting between $250K to $5 million-plus in revenues.

 

Mobile Game Space

Digital gaming has become a key area of interest for developers in India. One recent forecast from KPMG and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) predicted the category would generate 30.8 billion rupees ($480.3 million) in revenues in 2016.

But companies hoping to profit from this gaming boom have run into roadblocks, particularly when it comes to mobile games. Rising competition from other developers, challenges building consumer awareness and players who aren’t interested in paying for gaming content are all key obstacles.

An October 2016 look at the habits of India’s mobile gamers by Mauj Mobile-owned mobile gaming site GamesBond found a primary challenge was the high volume of games installed on the typical gamer’s phone. The study discovered 30% of respondents—all of whom had downloaded at least one game from a Mauj platform—had six or more games installed on their devices.

This highly competitive environment makes it important for developers to have their games featured in a mobile app marketplace like Google Play. Among game developers in India surveyed by GamesBond for the same study, 30% said being featured by the app store was “critical,” while another 40% said it would take a long time to get noticed if they were not featured.

Even as competition for mobile gaming customers continues to increase, developers targeting consumers in India would be wise to broaden their approach to include other platforms. So-called multiplatform gaming, where consumers play games across multiple devices like PCs, tablets and gaming consoles, is increasingly popular among gamers of all ages in India. In fact, according to GamesBond’s study, 58% of mobile gamer respondents also used PCs to play, and another 23% used tablets.