Rise of the ‘Little TVs’


Tablets have quickly become the preferred
second-screen alternative to TVs for viewing full-length
episodes — ahead of computers or smartphones.

On average, tablet owners report that 15% of their
TV-show viewing happens on the devices, according
to a new study commissioned by Viacom. The programmer’s
“Tapping Into Tabletomics” study found
that the devices did not significantly decrease time
spent watching TV, but did reduce time spent with
PCs and smartphones. The survey polled about 2,500
consumers who own
tablets or have use of
one in their household.

“It’s really increasing
their overall consumption
of TV,” Stu
Schneiderman, senior
director of Viacom Media
Networks Digital
Research, said.


Among tablet owners who subscribe to a cable
company that offers streaming apps — including
Comcast and Time Warner Cable — about half reported
downloading the apps. Those MSO app users spend 20%
more time on their tablet than non-MSO app users.

About 22% of MSO app users watch full-length TV shows
on their tablets, a data point Viacom is likely to use in negotiating
“second-screen” usage rights with operators. In
addition, 24% of Apple AirPlay users and 19% of Netflix
subscribers use tablets to watch full episodes.

There’s anecdotal evidence that consumers think of tablets
as small televisions: Horowitz Associates interviewed
several consumers about their over-the-top video consumption
and found one family that refers to their iPad as
“the little TV,” vice president of marketing and business
development Adriana Waterston said, speaking at the Cable
Interacts event in New York earlier this month.

Tablets have become a raging success since Apple debuted
the iPad in mid-2010 and spawned numerous copycats.
About 68.7 million tablets shipped worldwide in 2011,
according to IDC, which forecasts 106.1 million units to
ship this year.

“We’re bullish on tablets — we expect more of these devices
in people’s hands,” Schneiderman said. “We are already
seeing households with multiple tablets. We expect
those numbers to only increase.”

According to
“Tapping Into Tabletomics,”
of tablets users
use their devices
daily, spending
an average of
2.4 hours per day
on them. About
85% of tablet use
is personal (versus
work related)
and 77% of tablet
use is alone.

Most media
activities on the
tablet, such as
playing games
and watching
TV shows, were
highest among
users 18 to 24.

For Viacom, the research “tells us we need to be as sophisticated
as our audience,” Schneiderman said, by creating
video experiences tailored to tablets and companion
apps that augment the TV experience.


Top genres of full-length shows viewed on tablets — comedy
and music — are similar to those on computers. Reality
is the top genre viewed on TV, followed by drama, science
fiction and sports.

Tablet owners have a deep emotional connection to the
devices, Viacom found. More than 50% of respondents said
their tablet makes them feel “happier” and “more relaxed”;
49% said tablets make them more effective at managing
life; and 40% said “my tablet brings out the best in me.”

Viacom enlisted research firm Kelton to conduct the national
online survey in December 2011 and January 2012
of 2,500 people 8 to 54 who own or have access to a tablet,
as well as qualitative interviews with dedicated tablet users
in New York and Los Angeles.