Digital multi-tasking opens doors for mobile marketers

A new study looking into how people use smartphones and tablets has found that many perform functions on their devices at the same time as doing other things.

British communications regulator Ofcom questioned 3,700 UK residents to discover that the living room has been transformed into a ‘digital media hub’, with people browsing through their handheld devices whilst watching TV.

According to, the study claimed that 90 per cent of Brits still sit in front of a traditional television set, with half of this group (51 per cent) declaring ownership of a smartphone.

In addition, 53 per cent of the group said they multi-tasked by looking at other media simultaneously, while a quarter texted their opinions to show people they were watching certain shows.

This of course presents a great opportunity for brands already advertising their products on TV, as they can use SMS messaging to send their audience information relevant to what’s on the other screen.

“Just a few years ago, we would be talking about last night’s TV at work or at school. Now, we’re having those conversations live while watching TV – using social media, text and instant messaging,” said James Thickett, Ofcom director of research.

Mr Thickett told that families are still gathering in living rooms to watch TV, much like in the 1950s, but that people were also doing their own thing at the same time.

Younger people were found to be among those “most likely” to participate in digital multi-tasking, while women are more likely to use two screens than men.