Second screen usage - Statistics & Facts

Due to the omnipresence of mobile devices in modern life, it is no surprise that media consumption has become increasingly multi-layered with many consumers using an additional screen for secondary activities while watching TV. Second screen usage is especially popular among younger generations but older multitasking second screen users are catching up - in 2016, there were 46.7 million adult related-content simultaneous internet and TV users in the United States. This figure is projected to increase to 54.2 million users in 2018. In 2016, an estimated 68 percent of internet users in the United States accessed their the internet via smartphone and TV simultaneously, the most popular second screen usage combination ahead of desktop/TV and tablet/TV usage.


TV consumption is one of the most popular activities for second screen users to access their mobile phone with simultaneously. As of the third quarter of 2016, the most popular activities undertaken by smartphone users while watching TV was to look up information on actors, plotlines, athletes or teams - 25 percent of responding device owners stated looking up related content during TV consumption. Emailing or texting friends about the program and photo sharing were ranked second with a 23 and 19 percent share respectively. Second screen tablet activities are similar, with looking up program-related information ranking first.

Reasons for using a second screen are often social and usually in relation to the program on the main screen – 40 percent of second screen users accessed live information about the program they were currently watching and the same percentage of users joined conversations about the program online. Live tweeting or live blogging TV events are popular aspects of second screen usage. The most social television series during the 2016/2017 season was The Walking Dead on AMC with an average of 3.2 million combined social media actions per episode. As of August 2016, Facebook was by far the most popular social media platform for conducting TV-related actions, followed by Twitter and Instagram.

Social second screen usage during events has become a huge marketing opportunity for brands – 40.2 percent of female social media brand followers interacted with brands tweeting while watching cultural events on television. Social media marketing has subsequently become more time-sensitive.

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