Study: 80 per cent of UK Teens Use Second Screen to Communicate with Friends when Watching Television

written by: Richard Kastelein

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Digital Clarity, a specialist digital marketing agency whch recently polled over 1300 people under 25 from a cross section of the UK has reported that UK Under 25's not only media stacking with 80 per cent using a second screen to communicate with friends when watching television - 72 per cent Twitter, Facebook or mobile applications to actively comment on shows as they are watching them and they are significantly swapping remote controls for iPhones as the 'Social TV' trend takes over.

The 'Social TV' trend is proving hugely popular with young people as it allows them to instantly comment on their favourite shows to friends in different locations via the web or mobile phone.

As previously reported, a joint Nielsen and Yahoo US study late last year found that the trend is already well established with over 86 per cent of mobile internet users choosing to communicate with each other in real-time during broadcasts. Now 'second screening' or 'media stacking', as it is referred to in the States has become common place in the UK too.

Rather than social networks and television competing for attention it seems that young people are happy to embrace both and use one to enhance their enjoyment of the other.


The UK study found that 34 per cent described the trend as 'fun', 32 per cent said it made television 'more interesting' with 42 per cent mentioning the 'community' aspect of 'Social TV'.

One survey respondent, Ashleigh Foulser, 18 a student in Bournemouth said:

"I love being able to keep in touch with my mates while I'm at college. They are in different towns to me but it's like having them round to watch TV. We share a lot of jokes and if I comment on something funny or stupid I get replies almost immediately."

The survey discovered that the most common way to communicate is to use Twitter (72 per cent ) Facebook was next popular (56 per cent ) and mobile applications (34 per cent ). 62 per cent of Social TV users like a combination of all three.

Certain shows such as X-Factor, Skins, Glee, as well as soaps Coronation Street and Eastenders are particularly popular in the UK generating very high Twitter traffic and Facebook messages as they are broadcast.

Reggie James, founder of Digital Clarity explains:

"Up until 12 months ago, TV was struggling to reach the younger market as more and more channels were becoming available. Social TV has changed this completely by turning programmes into online events where you have to watch them as they happen".

The significance of 'Social TV' is not lost on the television networks who have found themselves with whole new marketplace and a different pitch for advertisers.

Last month, a US HBO channel reran the Howard Stern film 'Private Parts'. Stern was watching simultaneously and started add a live commentary to the action resulting in sky high ratings far higher than could have been forecast breathing new life into a 14 year old movie.

"The audience have already taken their seats and are ready to join the conversation", concludes James, "it's now up to the TV companies to tap into this huge and lucrative market."

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