Second-Screen Study Uncovers A New Kind Of TV Viewer: The ‘Power Breaker’


CHICAGO, September 25, 2013 (ADOTAS) — In a new study, VivaKi’s The Pool demonstrates the need for advertisers to begin engaging TV audiences on two screens – the TV and the second screen at their fingertips. With the flurry of recent reports regarding TV viewers’ multi-tasking behaviors and the penetration of second screen devices like smartphones and tablets, The Pool recognized the urgent need to learn more about the trend. In February 2013, The Pool brought a group of industry leaders together to launch the Two Screen TV Lane to explore the motivations and behaviors of multi-tasking viewers.

“As mobile devices continue to proliferate and compete for viewer attention, a new kind of TV viewer has emerged: the power breaker,” said Tracey Scheppach, founder of The Pool and VivaKi EVP, Innovations Director. “Once a show pauses for commercials, these viewers are turning their attention to content on their smartphones and tablets. However, this viewing trend creates a new and exciting opportunity to engage TV audiences in relevant and interactive ways.”

The results of the Two Screen TV Lane, announced today during Advertising Week in New York City, follow six months of two screen advertising research with two advertisers, including Kraft, and other participants including Viacom, zeebox, Alternate Routes, comScore and Tobii Technology. The research included four components: focus groups, eye-tracking, attitudinal analysis, and behavioral analysis.

One of the most significant findings was discovered during the eye-tracking research in which participants viewed programming on TV while using zeebox, a TV viewing companion app, on a tablet. Participants, who were observed in a controlled setting, showed a strong propensity to seek out additional content during commercial breaks. In fact, across the group measured, over two-thirds of total attention was focused on the tablet during commercial breaks.

That shift in attention was overwhelmingly confirmed through six focus groups. Respondents made it clear that they frequently sought additional content while watching TV with one respondent stating “watching TV, I always have to be doing something…”

“The TV viewing experience has been increasingly transformed by mobile devices attracting viewer attention,” said Scheppach. She added that “the findings helped us realize the extent of TV viewers’ need to constantly engage with content. We must fill this need with relevant content to fully connect with the power breaker.”

The Pool also tested consumer response to branded messaging on the second screen. The approach involved testing companion ads that ran in the PC, mobile, and tablet versions of the zeebox app alongside TV ads. Instead of distracting from TV, the app complements TV content by centralizing show-related content and social elements like Twitter in one experience. It’s also an attractive platform for advertisers, as it enables brands to support their TV ads with contextually relevant and even simultaneous ads that appear within the app.

“As multi-tasking grows more prevalent, the second screen is emerging as a solution for TV advertisers to adapt to changing viewing behavior and extend the engagement around their on-air presence,” said Deborah Brett, VP of Mobile Advertising at Viacom.

The study’s behavioral and attitudinal analysis of live, in-market ads showed strong response to branded messaging. During the research, The Pool tested a new technology that allows an app to time the launch of an ad with the same brand’s TV ad. This early test conducted with a small group, earned a 39% click-through rate for the synchronized ad unit, SpotSynch signaling just how high the potential is for two-screen advertising. And from an attitudinal perspective, users exhibited significant lifts across key brand metrics like unaided awareness, ad recall, brand favorability, and purchase intent.

“We believe TV and second screen synchronized advertising introduce rich new paths for consumer engagement so we’re pleased with what we’re seeing from The Pool’s research on how to maximize its potential,” said Jason Forbes, EVP, zeebox USA.

Additional research findings also capture the mindset of commercial breakers while providing key implications for advertisers.

  • Consumers are looking for all-in-one TV companion experiences that centralize their most common multi-tasking activities;
  • Consumers want ads on the second screen that are relevant to them or the show they are watching;
  • Contextual, show-related ads and ads with greater interactivity performed best.

The qualitative phase of the research explored users’ thoughts on companion apps, the zeebox platform, and advertising on zeebox; the eye-tracking phase analyzed users’ viewing habits while using zeebox in a lab setting during live TV episodes to understand how much time users spend looking at TV versus tablet; the attitudinal phase measured compared consumer reactions to brands between those exposed and not exposed to the ads, using zeebox tracking to differentiate between exposed and unexposed the two groups; and the behavioral phasedeployed multiple ad models on zeebox to analyze users’ interaction with advertising within the app. In total, the behavioral research included 3,441 hours of consumer exposure to two-screen advertising.

Executive summaries of The Pool’s two-screen TV advertising lane can be found at:

About VivaKi

Part of Publicis Groupe (Euronext Paris Exchange: FR0000130577; and part of the CAC 40 index), the world’s third largest communications group, VivaKi was established in 2008 to propel the digital transformation and expertise of the Groupe and its agencies. Today we are the global leader in digital advertising solutions, working with the world’s leading organizations to help them navigate the evolving and chaotic media landscape. Visit us online at or follow us on Twitter: @VivaKi.


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