Are You Using Tablets and Smartphones To Watch TV?


When I was growing up, we used to fight over the remote control to the TV. Not knock-down drag out fist fights. No, we employed more subtle and strategic methods, like hiding the remote from the others under a fluffy accent pillow on the couch. Back then, victory belonged to the one who could control what shows came out of that large and heavy box across from the sofa. And make no mistake about it; your symbol of control was control of the remote.


Yes, I know. Childish. But then again, there were more children in the home than adults. And by the way, why didn’t one of us without posession of the remote ever realize that you could change the channel by simply getting up, walking over to the TV and turning the clunky dial to what you wanted to watch? Take THAT, remote hoarder!

We really didn’t think that through.

My guess is there is probably less gamesmanship in most homes these days — at least as it relates to coveting control of the clicker.

And that is due in large part to the convenience of content consumption through tablets and mobile devices. Yes, as you read this blog, there are probably family rooms across America that have three or four people in the same room — all consuming different TV shows on different devices. If you ask me, I think that’s great! My only caveat is that I hope those families are also carving out other quality time to actually talk to eachother.

What we consume and why we consume TV programming on these alternative devices is the subject of a new study produced for the Council for Research Excellence. The full report called “TV Untethered” will be presented next week at a conference in New York. But dribs and drabs of the findings are being released in advance of the event.

In a news release, CRE reveals something that I’ll admit, surprised me a bit.

Here’s the lead paragraph from the news release:

“The majority of mobile TV viewing occasions — 82% of tablet and 64% of smartphone — occurs in the home, according to a new study. And the primary driver for consumers watching video on mobile devices is convenience — not to avoid advertising.”

I would have thought avoiding advertising would be a strong motivation for tablet/mobile viewing. At the same time, I am actually glad it’s not. Afterall, advertisers deserve to have their messages heard too. And many of them find creative ways to do so in these other environments – for example, a TV show is shown (in tablet/on mobile) with “limited commercial interruption.” A win/win for viewers and advertisers.

Also of note from the study, participants overwhelmingly chose dramas and comedies as top genres for tablet/mobile programming. News content was low on the interest level for viewers using these platforms but not surprisingly, news fared much better for viewers of traditional TV sets.

I still watch more TV on an actual TV, but I do find myself using my IPad from time to time.

I’d love to know your thoughts on the few facts I’ve shared from the CRE study and more importantly, please sound off and let me know how tablets and mobile have (or have not) changed your own personal TV viewing habits.

By the way, when I had control of the remote back in the day, my family was forced to watch CHiPs, Love Boat, Soap, Happy Days and Welcome Back Kotter.

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