Couch potato, otter or manic multiscreener - how do you watch TV?

Catherine Neilan
Follow Catherine
Our TV viewing habits are changing - but we aren't tweeting during shows (Source: Getty)
Couch potato, otter or manic-multiscreener – what do you turn into when you turn on the TV? Whichever you are, you are probably not using Twitter at the same time.
Traditional TV watchers – couch potatoes – are still the biggest group of viewers, although there are signs of decline as other norms emerge, according to a new report by forecasting firm Strategy Analytics. They now account for just a third – exactly 33 per cent – of TV viewers who also have access to the internet.
Couch potatoes don't text, tweet or phone friends about the programme they are watching – presumably they are just getting stuck into the programme itself. A similar group dubbed “couch chatterers” don't tweet either, but they are two-and-a-half times more likely to text or phone about a programme they are watching than the average.
One emerging group is the otters, who account for 26 per cent of total viewers. They watch TV less frequently than others - they are the most likely out of six groups to go a full day without watching – but when they do it's on “over the top” services, giving the group its OTTer moniker.
The vast majority of these viewers – 95 per cent – watch TV on a computer, tablet of smartphones. But only four per cent of them tweet.
Manic multiscreeners – which only make up seven per cent of viewers – are the most likely to phone or text (96 per cent) and a full 100 per cent use Twitter to follow a show. They are also the only group where more than half of what they watch is on devices other than a TV.
Moderates account for around 18 per cent of viewers, and 93 per cent phone or text about a show, although only 1 per cent use Twitter. Indifferent multiscreeners are the least interested of the six groups in TV – 83 per cent use another device while watching something - but 91 per cent use Twitter to follow a show.
Strategy Analytics principal analyst David Mercer said the survey, of 6,000 people, suggested traditional demographics were becoming “increasingly irrelevant and outdated”.
He added:
People within a traditional group, say 18-34 year old men, can watch TV in completely different ways so new behaviours are as important as demographics when it comes to planning for all elements within the TV industry – be it content, scheduling and advertising.
Broadcasters and advertisers need to learn the intricacies about the relationship between TV and new devices. For instance, there’s been a lot of hype about how Twitter is changing TV viewing but, in reality, only two types of people are remotely engaged with ‘Twitter + TV’. Consequently, strategies heavily focused on this would be a big waste as it’s irrelevant to more than 80 per cent of TV viewers.

Related articles