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Critical Changes in Consumers’ TV Viewing Driven by Connected TV, Multiscreen Activities and ‘Better Ad Experience’ in Digital Video, According to IAB Research

One in Three U.S. Adults Owns a Connected TV, with Many Spending 50% or More of Their TV Viewing Time Devoted to Digital Video Programing & 76% Saying that Streaming Video to TV Is As Good As or Better Than Traditional TV

Smartphones Overwhelmingly Prevail as Traditional TV Viewers’ ‘Second Screen’

NEW YORK, NY (April 20, 2015) — The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) today released “The Changing TV Experience: Attitudes and Usage Across Multiple Screens,” an in-depth study that explores new ground in the ongoing dramatic shift in consumers’ television viewing habits, and offers marketers insights into reaching audiences as connected TV ownership and multiscreening become more prevalent.

Connected TV Versus Traditional TV:

The study revealed that one in three Americans over the age of 18 owns either a smart TV or a device that streams video to their TVs, with two in five (38%) of those individuals spending at least 50 percent of their TV viewing time streaming video to their television.

Half of connected TV owners say they are more likely to stream content than watch traditional TV because there are fewer commercials, while 40 percent considered commercials on these platforms to be less intrusive than standard TV ads. In addition, they are quite satisfied with their new viewing experience, with 76 percent saying it is just as good or better than traditional TV (“as good” 51%, “better” 25%). They also cite a preference for streaming since it gives them greater control (33%) and better selection/more content of interest (29%).

In the connected TV universe, people watch a range of programming at least once a month:

  • Over three-quarters stream Netflix and YouTube video content
  • About half stream traditional TV shows, Amazon Prime programming, and videos from portals such as AOL, Google and Yahoo
  • Two out of five stream videos from Hulu Plus

Over a third (35%) of connected TV owners are streaming more video to their TV than a year ago. One in four smartphone and tablet owners, and one in five computer owners say the same. Meanwhile, 19 percent of adults 18 and older state that they are watching less traditional TV year-over-year.

Traditional TV Undergoes Multiscreen Transformation:

According to the report, 78 percent of U.S. adults simultaneously use another device while watching traditional TV, with browsing the internet being the most popular activity across devices and smartphones serving as the predominant second screen. More than two-thirds (69%) of smartphone users regularly conduct activities on their mobile phone during TV viewing, and 84 percent do so daily. In addition, more than half of computer and tablet owners multiscreen during TV viewing, with 79 percent of computer users doing so daily, and 65 percent of tablet owners doing so with the same frequency.

A significant portion of smartphone, tablet, and computers user perform tasks related to the TV shows or commercials they are watching, including:

  • Email/IM/text with friends about the show/movie (54% smartphones, 37% tablets, 38% computers)
  • Search for information about show/movie/actor (49%, smartphones, 43% tablets, 44% computers)
  • Read/post on social media pages of the show/movie/actor (42% smartphones, 31% tablets, 33% computers)
  • Search for reviews of a product/service shown in a commercial (37% smartphones, 40% tablets, 40% computers)
  • Post on social media about a commercial (34% smartphones, 28% tablets, 26% computers)

The study’s results confirm that multiscreening is on the upswing overall, with 40 percent of smartphone users saying that they have increased multiscreening activity over the past year. The rise year-over-year is similar for tablet users (39%), with a solid increase among computer users (28%) as well.

Connected TVs and multiscreening are irrevocably altering TV viewing,” said Sherrill Mane, Senior Vice President of Research, Analytics, and Measurement, IAB. “While consumers continue to embrace the big screen at home viewing experience, they are streaming more digital video for both original programming and for TV shows. Smartphones and other devices continue to broaden the shared TV viewing experience beyond the living room.”

“With this year’s Digital Content NewFronts kicking off on April 27, it is even more important for our members and the industry at large to recognize the impact and reach of digital video, which this study makes clear,” said Anna Bager, Senior Vice President, Mobile and Video, IAB. “Viewers are now tuning into, discussing, and sharing digital video on a wide variety of screens. This means more eyeballs, more engagement, and a wealth of new opportunities for marketers to reach their audiences wherever they may be.”

To view the full “The Changing TV Experience: Attitudes and Usage Across Multiple Screens” report, visit here.


The online survey was conducted by Vision Critical’s Media & Entertainment Practice on behalf of the IAB from January 19th to January 21st, 2015, powered by Vision Critical Customer Intelligence Platform among a sample of 651 adults 18+. The sample was designed to be representative of the US census/online adult over 18 population. In addition, 13 participants from the online quantitative survey were invited to participate in a 2-day online discussion forum to share their experiences with streaming video content to their TV in comparison to watching regular TV.

About the IAB
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) empowers the media and marketing industries to thrive in the digital economy. It is comprised of more than 650 leading media and technology companies that are responsible for selling, delivering, and optimizing digital advertising or marketing programs. Together, they account for 86 percent of online advertising in the United States. Working with its member companies, the IAB evaluates and recommends standards and practices and fields critical research on interactive advertising. The organization is committed to professional development, elevating the knowledge, skills, and expertise of individuals across the digital marketing industry. The IAB also educates marketers, agencies, media companies and the wider business community about the value of interactive advertising. Founded in 1996, the IAB is headquartered in New York City.

IAB Media Contact
Laura Goldberg
[email protected]