The TV Room Is No Longer Focused on TV Viewing, Says IAB UK

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Our age of connected devices has changed the TV room experience, reports the Interactive Advertising Bureau UK (IAB UK). It found that 70 percent of UK adults use a connected device while watching TV. For millennials (ages 18 to 34), that rises to 87 percent. Half of those surveyed said the TV was no longer the focal point of the living room.

In bad news for content providers, the report finds that viewers engaged with mobile devices typically use them for things unrelated to what's on the TV screen. Whether people are watching TV alone or with friends, their device activity is most often unrelated to what they're watching.

The survey didn't just question people about their choices, but used biometric data and other methods to study behavior. It found that during evening TV viewing, people spent 60 percent of their time focused on something else, such as a second screen or a conversation with another person.

The term "second screen" is no longer accurate, says IAB UK chief strategy officer Tim Elkington, as all screen are now equal. People freely switch between screens, and the living room is a multifunctional space where people partake in a variety of activities, including social networking, writing emails, and shopping.

People now check their email consistently during both TV shows and ad breaks, doing so 34 percent of the time.

The report, "Real Living: How Devices Compete for Attention in the Living Room," is based on research by Sparkler that studied 1,050 people using surveys, passive filming, on-device tracking, daily diaries, and biometric data. The full report is for IAB UK members only.

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