A logical assumption would be that DVRs from the likes of TiVo and Dish Network are the biggest roadblocks for TV advertising. It turns out that such an assumption would be wrong.
According to a new study conducted by the IPG Media Lab and YuMe, the biggest culprit when it comes to distraction from TV is actually smartphones.
Distraction media was ubiquitous, with 94% of TV and 73% of online video viewers using some type of companion/distraction media. While companion media included everything from laptops, video games and crossword puzzles to physical mail and musical instruments, the smartphone proved to be the true "disruptor" in regards to video attention levels. Of all of the companion media used, the smartphone accounted for 60% of TV and 46% of online video distractions.
However, smartphones don't seem to be as big a deterrent when it comes to watching online video:
While distraction media is a threat to the value of video advertising, it also represents an opportunity to deliver a deeper companion experience to the on-screen content and ads.
My theories to support the last point could be that users are actually seeking out the video online, and there are far fewer advertisements (usually just one or two, occasionally three) so there's less time to get up for a moment or browse for something on a smartphone.
As far as smartphones go, it's probably one of the biggest (if not the biggest) tech disruptions out there. Microsoft once dedicated a rather confusing commercial to Windows Phone 7 about how it's the least distracting mobile operating system available. While the commercial didn't go over so well with most watchers, it did make the point that smartphone owners are obsessed with their handhelds and can never look away, whether it be on the subway, in meetings or at lunch with friends. So why not while watching TV - especially if the content is boring?
So how can TV advertisers get around this? That's hard to say, but perhaps they should look into better mobile advertising since that's where everyone's eyes seem to be.
Related coverage on ZDNet:
- Tivo's $500 million patent settlement with Echostar, Dish disappoints some
- Cablevision's Optimum iPad app offers hundreds of live TV channels to subscribers -- but for how long?
- Hulu Plus reportedly being tested on TiVo Premiere boxes