nScreenMedia OTT multiscreen media analysis

Life between the screens

New data from comScore shows that most of the global digital audience use a smartphone, PC, and tablet. However, much of that audience is likely using four connected screens, not three!

Digital audience dominated by three-screen users

According to comScore’s 2018 International Edition of the Global Digital Future in Focus, most of us are juggling three screens. In the U.S. 62% of the digital audience consumes content on a PC, tablet, and smartphone. 23% of people rely solely on a PC and 15% on a tablet and smartphone. In the UK, the population of three-screen users is slightly smaller but still dominates with 55%. Across the 13 markets studied by comScore, 46% of the digital audience used a PC, tablet, and smartphone.

Taking each screen separately, however, it is the smartphone that dominates digital minutes consumed. In the U.S. 60% of the digital time is spent with the smartphone, a 58% in the UK. Only in Canada is another screen used as much as the smartphone, where both deliver 42% of digital minutes.

The tablet is hardly used at all in most markets, except the USA (8% of digital minutes), Canada (15%), and the UK (13%.) The PC is most popular in France, where it is watched for 48% of the time, and Canada and Germany (42%.)

Video consumption increases on mobile and PC

Though the smartphone dominated overall digital minutes used, both mobile and PC video consumption increased in the U.S. in 2017. comScore says that video minutes watched on mobile screens increased 28% and PC consumption was up 10%.

The comScore findings are directionally in line with Nielsen data for Q2 2017. The company found that smartphone video increased from 46.7% in Q2 2016 to 52% in Q2 2017. As well, the minutes of video watched per week increased from 51 to 96 over the same period, an increase of 88%. The number of PC video viewers declined between Q2 2016 and Q2 2017, from 30.9% to 29.1%. However, the time spent by those that continued to watch video on their PC increased, from 352 minutes per week to 478 (up 36%.)

Mobile drives video views

Facebook and Google both say that most video views occur on mobile devices. comScore data confirms these claims. The company says that two-thirds of video views at the top 100 video properties in the US and the UK are delivered to mobile devices. However, growth in total minutes delivered by the Top 100 properties was stronger in the US. PC minutes delivered increased 46% during 2017 and mobile minutes increased 41%. In the UK, the PC minutes consumed fell 12% during 2017, while mobile minutes increased 24%.

Many digital consumers use four screens

comScore did not report on the usage of connected televisions. However, Nielsen says that the penetration of TV-connected devices increased from 42.9% in Q2 2017 to 46.9% one year later. Minutes watched per week increased from 505 to 520 over the same period.

It is impossible to say with certainty how many of the 62% of U.S. three-screen users also use a connected TV. However, it is a good bet that there is a very large population of people of Americans living life between four screens.

Why it matters

Three-screen users dominate the digital audiences across three continents.

Mobile is driving growth and consumption in most countries.

In the U.S., at least, a large number of people also use a connected TV, meaning they are really four-screen users.

For online video providers, support for every screen remains an important tool in driving usage and retention.

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