What are these people doing? According to Nielsen, most people are using second screens to distract themselves from what they’re watching to either search the Web for something (63% of smartphone owners, 76% of tablet owners) or just to surf the Web (68% of tablet owners, 55% of smartphone owners).
More than half of all mobile device users say they visit social networking sites while watching TV. And the social aspect of watching TV is important too: 21% of tablet users and 18% of smartphone users say they read conversations about the program on a social networking site, and 20% of tablet users shop for products or services being advertised. Some even watched a particular TV program because comments on a social media site.
And the number of viewers using mobile devices to enrich or enhance their TV viewing is growing. Viewers use tablets and smartphones to look up information on actors or teams (49% of tablet users, 34% of smartphone users).
The social aspect of using a second screen appears to be the main function for a smartphone or tablet in the hands of a TV viewer. Social media and mobile devices are changing how people watch and interact with television. This is indeed a brave new world.