US Insights

Mapping multiscreeners

Tech // Mobile 03.23.2014

Elizabeth Wilner

US Editor

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TV still the #1 first screen, but smartphone screens tie for favorite

Television remains the most common first screen among US multiscreen users, but mobile is poised to challenge TV for that status, a new Millward Brown study finds.

Smartphones and TV already are tied as the screens of choice, with smartphones taking up 2 hours and 31 minutes of screen time per day and TV 2 hours and 27 minutes per day, according to the study. Overall, the typical US multiscreener consumes a total 7 hours and 24 minutes of screen media per day, 27 minutes higher than the global average.

Key Numbers

  • 2:31 Hours/mins devoted to smartphone screen use
  • 2:27 Hours/mins devoted to TV use

Millward Brown's 2014 annual AdReaction study examined multiscreen habits and advertising across TV, laptop, smartphone and tablet usage in 30 countries, with a US sample size of 444.

Multiscreeners in general are driven to a second screen by a number of factors: by boredom, to fill gaps in content, and by habitual multitasking, but also by desires to be more productive, connected, informed, and engaged. Users may cycle through many or all of these mindsets in a single viewing session.

Of the 41% of their total screen time that US multiscreeners devote to simultaneous use of TV plus a digital device, 13% is spent on "meshing," or simultaneous use for related content. This is on par with the global average. Twenty-nine percent is devoted to "stacking," simultaneous usage for unrelated content.

The study also finds that marketing receptivity is higher for TV ads than for digital ads among US multiscreeners, who spend 34 minutes longer on TV per day than the global average. But brands cannot rely just on TV ads. Multiscreeners expect brands to be present on multiple devices and are impressed by those that find entertaining and useful ways of delivering across screens. 

For now, advertisers remain underinvested in mobile. While smartphones and tablets together claim 44% of US multiscreen usage time, they only claim 7% of projected total ad spend for 2014, while TV claims 39%.

Source: Millward Brown

Editor's Notes

Journalists, download the full report and methodology above. For inquiries, contact us.

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