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Tablet TV viewing is on the rise, but the future looks bleak for mobile ads: study

by Doug Drinkwater

March 26 2013

8 in 10 tablet owners say that they use their device when watching TV
8 in 10 tablet owners say that they use their device when watching TV

A new survey from the BBC reveals how tablets are influencing TV viewing habits, but hints at problems ahead for mobile advertisers.

The survey saw BBC World News and bbc.com/news work with InSites Consulting and polled 3,600 consumers across Australia, France, Germany, India, Poland, South Africa, UAE and the U.S. It was supposedly the largest study into news consumption habits.

Some of the key findings from the report included the result that 83% of tablet owners now use their device alongside the TV, while 43% of tablet owners now claim to watch more TV than they did five years ago.

Research also indicated that almost half (42%) of 25-34 year olds are now likely to turn on the TV when hunting for breaking news, with 66% then turning to the internet in a bid to find out more information.

In contrast, users turned to laptops (29%), smartphones (18%) and tablets (10%) far less often as their primary device for discovering news.

While these results are bound to delight second-screen app developers and news publishers focusing on mobile platforms, the study was less promising for mobile advertisers.

The study discovered that most news audiences now expect to see as much advertising on mobile devices (79% for tablets, 84% for smartphones) as they do on TV (87%) and online (84%), with many of these folk far less inclined on mobile ads.

Indeed, only one in seven stated that they responded to a mobile ad in the last four weeks, compared to one in five on TV and one in four on their desktop PC.

BBC Global News CEO Jim Egan said that the results would indicate that we are now living in a multi-screen world.

“Avid news consumers are hungry for information wherever they are and expect to stay in touch on all the devices they now own,” said Egan.

“There’s been speculation for years that mainstream uptake of smartphones, laptops and tablets will have a negative impact on television viewing, but this study has found that the four devices actually work well together, resulting in greater overall consumption rather than having a cannibalising effect.”

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