The statistics are somewhat grim. 46% of Millennials, and 35% of all consumers, use a second screen every single day when they watch TV. Those numbers are going up year-over-year.
Not surprisingly, Americans are more likely to "media multi-task" during commercials than programs. And, they only pay attention to ads roughly one-third of the time.
What are consumers doing instead? 31% browse the internet for content related to what they are watching. 20% try to watch two programs at once. 19% follow online discussions about what’s on TV.
Recent research provides hints about how to recapture viewers. Consumers are significantly less likely to multi-task when streaming TV versus watching live or time-shifted TV. Additionally, streaming viewers are much more likely than others to "second screen" about something that is completely or mostly related to what’s on TV.
Finally, when Americans watch TV with another person, they are much less likely to use a second screen and much more likely to stay actively engaged with both the program and the commercials.
Sources: Council for Research Excellence 2017, eMarketer 2017, IAB 2017, Marketing Charts 2016