NPD: Second-screen apps getting scant use

Despite the best efforts of broadcasters and content providers, TV viewers with second-screen capabilities are not especially keen on using the devices to interact directly with apps that accompany TV programs they're watching, the latest research from The NPD Group indicates.

"Viewers are interested in searching to find further information about TV shows they are watching, but they are not using games and other immersive applications created as a component of the programming," Russ Crupnick, senior vice president of industry analysis at NPD, said in a press release. "This situation creates a potential diversion from advertising, and it will take a combined effort from content owners, advertisers, broadcasters, and others to present an aligned second-screen experience that will appeal to viewers."

The research confirmed that devices capable of receiving second-screen apps are popular, noting that 88 percent of U.S. households own at least one device and 87 percent of U.S. "entertainment consumers" said they use at least one second-screen device while watching television. The most popular devices are PCs (60 percent), smartphones (55 percent) and tablets (49 percent).

The problem--at least for content providers and advertisers who are counting on a more immersive second-screen application--is that the second screen use is somewhat limited. Viewers apparently interact directly with IMDb, Wikipedia and social networks rather than going through apps like Viggle and zeebox that have been designed specifically for the second-screen experience.

While apps like play-along games, check-in rewards and live voting are "highly effective for the minority of second-screen viewers," they "do not resound with most," the researchers said.

There is some hope for advertisers, however. Shopping for a product seen in a TV commercial is attractive to viewers in the demographic aged 35 to 49, the research said.

"Converting viewers into impulse shoppers has big potential impact for advertisers, who can leverage second screens to further connect with consumers watching TV," Crupnick concluded.

For more:
- The NPD Group issued this press release

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