Two-screen viewing booming in Europe

Adults are snacking on their mobiles more than ever while watching TV, presenting new opportunities for advertisers.

At the same time, they are using TV, PC, tablet and mobile increasingly interchangeably, depending on which is available at the time. These findings come from France Telecom Orange’s Exposure 2012/2013 — an annual study conducted on behalf of the French Telco group by TNS Research, relating to mobile media in the UK, France and Spain, and aimed at the advertising industry.

As evidence of growing platform interchangeability, the study found that 62 percent of UK consumers were using their mobile or tablet to replicate the same experience on their PC when on the move. On the snacking front, nine out of 10 consumers were accessing the Internet while watching TV, and one in three were investigating purchases on their mobile device based on something they had seen on TV, often in a commercial.

More specifically still, over 1-in-4 mobile users were responding to short codes appearing on TV adverts. These are typically keywords to send an SMS text message with a specific code calling for some an action like requesting a brochure. It can also be a code for entry into a web site. The use of short codes in TV adverts has grown rapidly, with UK automaker Jaguar one of the pioneers. In January 2011, the auto company ran a campaign featuring publication of short codes aimed at persuading affluent consumers to book a test drive at nearby dealerships.

This sends a clear message to advertisers that the time to embrace the second screen within TV commercials has arrived.

The Orange research also probed the mobile media habits of 11-18 year olds, showing that mobile is the primary screen of choice with smartphone penetration very high among this age group. But, at 80 percent, fewer teenagers than adults are browsing the Internet while viewing. They are more likely to be inside a social network.