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Mobile TV use differs by demographics but is universally embraced

The majority of today?s generations are not only enjoying but also expecting mobile compatibility with their favorite TV shows.

While each generation may be looking for different levels and types of mobile engagement with their favorite TV shows, mobile-TV consumption is a growing trend for the entertainment industry. In response, entertainment providers are investing in second-screen solutions to further their presence outside of hour-long blocks on TV.

?Social TV is on the rise thanks to an uptick in mobile device usage,? said Julie Preis, senior vice president of product at PulsePoint, New York. ?It is no longer the second screen, it has now become the first screen. 

?ABC?s Scandal is a perfect example of how a TV show is using social media to connect and engage with their fans,? she said. ?Several of the cast members and the creator live tweet throughout the hour-long show with their thoughts, garnering excitement for the upcoming scene and engaging with tweets from fans.

More with mobile
Consumers are increasingly looking for more from their favorite shows, placing a convenient opportunity for mobile capabilities. 

Networks can leverage mobile in many different ways, through second screen apps or social, to give consumers more of what they want. By providing these capabilities, consumers are more glued to their sources of entertainment and become more dedicated fans.

ABC?s creation and use of hashtag #TGIT meaning Thank God It?s Thursday follows its evening series of shows on Thursday nights, including Grey?s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder.

The hashtag has garnered a revolution and immense social participation on Twitter.

?Social TV campaigns are often successful thanks to the great marketing content that is produced and distributed in tangent with live events,? Ms. Preis said. ?Engaging fans in real-time is key, but engagement levels will not be where you want them to be if you don?t remember that content is king. 

?Just like TV writers need to hook viewers, brands need to hook consumers with their content,? she said.

Demand from millennials
Research also supports these movements.

?About 48 percent of millennials surveyed for Deloitte?s research used social media while watching television,? Ms. Preis said. ?In comparison, 26 percent of Generation X, Americans age 31-47, 14 percent of Baby Boomers, and just 5 percent of older Americans said they used social media while watching television. 

?Across the survey, this group of American teens and young adults were most likely to engage in every type of activity listed while watching television from texting to online shopping,? she said. ?Unsurprisingly, they were those least likely to say they did nothing else watching television.?

Generation X and Baby Boomers are currently less likely to be involved on mobile while watching TV, but these numbers are increasing simultaneously as millennials evolve as today?s prime consumers. 

?Demographics via age group currently determine the use of interaction of mobile with TV; for example, Hallmark offers a book gaming app that interacts with select Hallmark movies, where kids can watch the movie and interact via mobile while its playing,? said Marci Troutman, CEO of SiteMinis, Atlanta. ?The younger generations almost expect the interaction to happen between screens.

?I?ve seen a video demonstration with some brands that show children trying to touch screen the TV while watching, expecting something to happen,? she said. ?Now that laptops have touch screens available through some brands, I would imagine that the biggest screens will be next.?

While younger generations are aging side-by-side with touch screen devices, older generations are less familiar but are becoming increasingly interested. 
?Another age group that gets heavily engaged in the interaction is in voting via mobile while watching, such as American Idol, determining an outcome from consumers wholly based on this interaction,? Ms. Troutman said. 

Any and all generations of TV viewers are participating in some way.

If networks continue to track the response to these efforts, they can proceed with making them more targeted to their core audiences.

Industry involvement
Previous efforts have shown creativity and great response.

For example, Disney is integrating its Star Wars Rebels characters in the Star Wars Scene Maker mobile application following the launch of a new TV series and related merchandise. 

Through the app?s components, users will be able to recreate their own experience using the same characters and locations of the TV series. Disney has been leveraging mobile in many different ways to create and maintain second screen experiences that keep its young fans coming back (see story).

Similarly, consumer electronics company Samsung went green with mobile in its offering of an Android Ryder Cup mobile and television application allowing users to shop, stream and stay up-to-date with live coverage of the annual golf tournament.

Developed in collaboration with Turner Sports and the PGA of America, Samsung promoted its own products by giving golf fans access to exclusive content of the tournament from the comfort of their own homes. By tapping an omnichannel experience, Samsung provided a unique source of engagement and allows personalization for each user (see story).

It is sure that these efforts will only grow and are soon-to-be crucial.

?Engagement cross screens will continue to become more prevalent as brands offer these opportunities, the consumers are ready and willing to engage now, the brands need to catch up and offer these experiences more often,? Ms. Troutman said.

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York