Using a second screen while watching TV encourages more TV viewing and gives people more exposure to, and the opportunity to respond to, TV ads, research from Thinkbox has revealed.

The ‘Screen Life: The View from the Sofa’ report from the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK—whose shareholders include Channel 4, ITV, Sky Media, Turner Media Innovations and UKTV— examined over 700 hours of TV viewing gathered from filming the living rooms of 23 multiscreening households in the UK for a week.

It found that people were more likely to stay in the room or not change the channel during the ad break if they were ‘multiscreening’. Moreover, such viewers stayed in the room for 81% of ad breaks; by contrast, viewers not multi-screening stayed in the room for 72%. On average, when only one person was in the room and was multi-screening, 64% of their TV viewing sessions lasted for longer than 15 minutes. This compares with 47% when watching with no accompanying activity.

This so called multiscreening also did not affect ad recognition. In a laboratory test where participants were invited to watch TV and/or use a laptop without being made aware they were to be tested on TV ad recognition, there was no significant difference in the level of ad recognition between people when multi-screening or only watching TV. Furthermore the data suggested that multiscreening brings people closer to TV as it enables them to research what they watch, share with online friends and participate.

Commenting on the research, Neil Mortensen, Thinkbox’s Research and Planning Director, said: “Multi-screening is a huge benefit and opportunity for TV advertisers. Not just because it encourages people to watch more TV and more ad breaks – and does not adversely affect ad recognition – but because viewers now have the ability to act on what they see immediately. We’ve always multi-tasked in front of the TV but two screening is an incredibly complementary accompaniment.”