Tapping into Tabletomics: A Tablet Research Exploration

stuart-schneiderman by Stuart Schneiderman, Strategic Insights and Research, Viacom Media Networks

Chad, a 35-year-old father of two, set up a “TV hub” in his garage, with his iPad2 the technology centerpiece of his refuge.  Tina, a single 28 year-old, uses her HP Touchpad as a makeshift DVR, accessing her must-see TV episodes from her TiVo desktop, to her tablet and finally onto a big-screen TV.  Both were jazzed to become amateur technologists. And neither Chad nor Tina had any idea they would use their tablets in these ways when they bought them.

We are witnesses to a new phenomenon – Tabletomics – a word we at Viacom made up to describe the behaviors and emotions resulting from this combination of tablets, media, technology and creativity. We discovered Tabletomics during the course of our new research effort that explores how people use tablets and emotionally connect to them, with a focus on tablets as TV and the dual-screen experience.

What sets our research apart is that we don’t focus solely on iPad owners – we include Kindle, Samsung, HP et al owners. We also explore the impact of services like Apple Airplay, Kindle Whispersync and MSO apps on TV show viewing.

Some key findings:

  • In just a few years, tablets have risen to second-screen prominence for full-length TV (FLTV) show viewing, ahead of computers. Yet, television still provides the better experience.
  • Tablets provide complementary experiences to TV viewing via second-screen experiences and co-viewing apps like MTV’s WatchWith.
  • MSO app users, Netflixers, Apple TV owners, AirPlay users and Whispersync users report higher levels of FLTV show watching on tablets. Over one-third of both AirPlay and Whispersync users say they watch more TV on their tablets because of these apps.
  • Tablet owners report emotional connections to this device unlike any other in the household – more than 50% of respondents said their tablet makes them feel happier and more relaxed, 49% said tablets make them more effective at managing life and 39% said tablets boost creativity.

Tabletomics is in its very early stages.  As tablet ownership becomes more widespread and tablets themselves evolve, we predict these devices will increasingly transform not only how and when we use other devices, but how and when we consume all kinds of content.

The Methodology: 1) tablets online communities (a 1-week community of 100 tablet “addicts”, followed by a 2-week community of 40 of the best community members), 2) twelve ethnographies  from our community (LA & NY) and 3) an online survey of 2,400+ US tablet owners (including a separate study of K8-12 tablet users).

Stuart Schneiderman is Senior Director of Digital Research for Viacom Media Networks.

Read the full press release detailing the “Tapping into Tabletomics” study by clicking here.

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