Multi-Screening - Competition for our attention

May 22, 2013, 12:42 PM UTC

Multi-screening, the process of engaging with various types of digital media across devices either simultaneously or sequentially, is a growing trend. With rising ownership of devices such as smartphones and tablet computers, particularly well suited to the multi-screening experience, it is becoming an everyday activity for a growing number of individuals – especially younger consumers.

In this report YouGov SixthSense conducts an in-depth exploration into consumer attitudes and behaviour towards multi-screening. It measures how familiar the wider population is with multi- screening, their attitudes towards the concept and also how it might affect choice of device. In addition, it identifies who the multi-screeners are, the most common multi-screening activities, the key devices being used, and also how often and what time of the day multi-screening tends to occur. Finally, with social networking playing an increasingly ubiquitous role in many people’s lives, it investigates the specific case of how consumers interact with technology such as Twitter and Facebook while watching television.


Multi-screening – the process of consuming television, music, gaming and/or creating digital

media content across multiple devices either simultaneously or sequentially.

One-task multi-screening (aka sequential screening) – the process of using multiple screens to engage with one type of media across different devices (for example starting to watch a film on television and then finishing it on a tablet computer).

Simultaneous multi-screening – the process of engaging with two or more types of media at the same time (for example watching television at the same time as using the internet on a tablet computer).

Over 30 questions were asked on topics covering

  • Assessing the current electrical devices that they have
  • Analysing their internet access and usage
  • How they use their electrical devices
  • Use of applications and multi-screening
  • Interaction with social media
  • What devices are used to consume video/film or TV shows


For this report, YouGov SixthSense commissioned two surveys among its online panel. The first drew on a sample of 1,062 UK adults aged 16+, and the second 524 UK children aged 8 to 15.