Smartphones, not DVRs, are the biggest threat to TV adverts

TV viewers are a famously fickle bunch, which tends to drive TV advertisers crazy. The prevalent theory remains that skipping past ads using a pesky DVR is the biggest enemy of marketers, but new research has once again contradicted that received wisdom. The IPG Media Lab in Los Angeles pulled together a representative group of 48 TV and online video viewers and asked them to sit through some programming while equipped with the usual "devices or distractions" that accompany their viewing habits. Central to the study was the measurement of time each person spent facing the screen and how engaged they were with the content. The first thing noted was that 94 percent of TV viewers and 73 percent of online video consumers used some other form of media to augment their visual entertainment. Smartphones were the most common, with 60 percent of test subjects resorting to their handset while gawking at the TV. That's resulted in a mediocre 52 percent attention level during actual programs and 37 percent during ads. In other words, two thirds of the time, commercials are being ignored and smartphones are helping people with that heinous behavior. Ironically, fast-forwarding adverts using a DVR garnered attention levels that were 12 percent higher, mostly because people were trying to make sure they didn't skip too far ahead. Damn, why does reality have to be all complex and stuff?