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TV Viewers Aren’t Thrilled with Second-Screen Synchronized Content, Study Finds

Only 13% of 'second screen' users say content synched with TV makes experience more enjoyable, according to survey from CEA and NATPE

Call it app-athy: While many TV viewers sit on their couch with a mobile device in hand, most think second-screen content synchronized with a TV show is just… sort of OK.

According to a new survey, just 42% of people who use a smartphone or tablet to access related TV show content have tried synchronizing the second-screen experience with live TV. And only 13% of those said it makes their program viewing experience “much more enjoyable.” The majority (67%) said it made TV viewing just “somewhat” better — nice to have, but not a necessity.

The research, released Thursday at the 2014 International CES, was jointly commissioned by the Consumer Electronics Assn. and National Assn. of Television Program Executives (NATPE).

SEE ALSO: Let the Second-Screen Shakeout Begin

The study’s sponsors looked at the silver lining — concluding that industry players have untapped potential. More than half of those who access synchronous second-screen content do so during commercials, according to the survey, which the groups said highlights an opportunity to provide synchronized content during ad breaks. The use of mobile devices among TV viewers is prevalent: More than 75 percent of TV viewers use smartphones or tablets while watching television, according to an Ericsson study released in November 2013.

The CEA/NATPE second-screen study shows that there are “opportunities for consumer technology device manufacturers to market connected devices and potentially collaborate with content producers to enhance and improve the second-screen experience,” according to CEA president and CEO Gary Shapiro.

The report recommended that second-screen content be better targeted to specific demos — like millennial viewers or parents — and that it should be device-agnostic. “We know TV viewers are beginning to use the second screen because it has the potential to extend enjoyment of the viewing experience,” NATPE chief Rod Perth said in a statement. “We believe this research study will illuminate new entertainment possibilities for consumers as well as content creators.”

The online survey of 2,531 U.S. consumers (13 and older) was conducted by E-Poll Market Research between Oct. 18 and 28, 2013. The respondents all reported accessing some kind of second-screen content, whether that was synchronous with live TV or not.

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