Multi-Screening Now On For Young And Older

Young married couple in pajamas sitting in the sofa with newspaper and laptop and watching TV at home
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For the first time, most Australians in the key television demographic of age 18-49 now say they like to browse the internet while watching TV, the latest data from Roy Morgan Research shows.

51% of all Australians 18-49 now agree that they like to surf the net while watching TV, up from 36% three years ago.

Way way back in 2011, only among 14-17 year-olds did the majority enjoy multi-screening (53%). But things change quickly, and this habit is now mainstream: today, 65% of those 18-24, 56% of those 25-34 and 41% of those 35-49 like to go online while watching TV.

Multi-screening has also increased in popularity among older Australians during the period, but remains low: 20% of those 50-64 and 6% of those 65 or over, totalling 14% of all Australians 50+.

Overall, 36% of Australians 14+ now like to browse the internet while the telly’s on, up from 27% in the year to June 2011.

But will the rise of multi-screening make TV ads less effective? Our data actually shows that, across all age groups, multi-screeners are actually more likely than average to find TV advertising interesting and to say it gives them something to talk about.   

% of Australians who like to surf the net while watching TV

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, July 2010–June 2011 n = 18,135, July 2013 – June 2014 n = 16,809 Australians 14+

Segmentation using Roy Morgan’s Technology Adoption Segments indeed shows that those who are interested in the latest technology are now starting to catch up to Technology Early Adopters and Digital Life, with multi-screening growing fastest since 2011 among Australians classed as Professional Tech Mainstream, Technology Traditionalists and Older Tech Explorers.

Tim Martin, general manager – media, Roy Morgan Research, says: “It is a milestone in our changing media consumption habits that most Australians in the core television ratings demographic of ages 18 to 49 now say they like to browse the internet while watching TV.

“Just a few years ago, many parents probably thought their teenaged kids were mad for sitting in front of the telly with a phone or tablet in their hands or a laptop on their laps. Today, many of those parents are now doing the same thing themselves, whether it’s scrolling through a Facebook news feed during the Nightly News, shopping online for a product they’ve just seen advertised, or getting a closer look at Shannon and Simon’s wooden bathtub.

“A fair assumption might be that people with a second screen in front of them are less engaged with the TV, especially during ad breaks—but our research suggests that people who browse the net while watching TV are actually more likely than others to find TV advertising interesting.”

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