Dubai: Television sets alone are no longer enough to satisfy the appetite for content-hungry viewers and they are simultaneously engaging in other digital activities, such as using social media, checking their e-mails or shopping online, a latest report by TNS showed.

“Consumption habits of content-hungry viewers are changing rapidly despite remaining hooked to televisions,” said Steve Hamilton-Clark, CEO of TNS Mena.

Report data shows that 64 per cent of TV viewers in Saudi Arabia and 50 per cent in the UAE are engaged in other digital activities simultaneously, higher than the global average of 48 per cent.

Consumers in both Saudi Arabia and UAE markets tend to own up to four digital devices, in line with global figures. This, combined with demand for TV and video content on-the-go, is fuelling the rise of multi-screening or ‘screen-stacking’ behaviour — the use of multiple digital devices at the same time.

Hamilton-Clark said that as digital landscape is shown to differ by country, brands should approach each market specifically in order to increase their market share.

Live, on-the-go content

He noted that demand for live and on-the-go content was amplified during the recent Fifa World Cup. Viewers worldwide accessed this international sporting event via multiple devices at home and on the move, while also engaging in conversations on social media platforms.

Social network did not get a share in 2010 World Cup but this year, 350 million Facebook users globally generated three billion interactions related to the soccer tourney.

In total, 32.1 million World Cup tweets were sent during the Argentina-Germany final football match, down significantly from Germany’s shocking 7-1 victory against Brazil at 35.6 million tweets, and it remains Twitter’s most popular single sporting event ever.

Twitter now reports 200 million users who send 400 million tweets every day.

UAE has 360,000 Twitter users who share some 2.5 million tweets per day. There are 82 million active social media users across the Arab region.

The report said that one quarter of those surveyed worldwide watch content on a PC, laptop, tablet or mobile daily. This rises to one third (33 per cent) in mainland China and Singapore and 32 per cent in Hong Kong, where ‘phablets’ are increasingly popular. Meanwhile, closer to home, in Saudi Arabia approximately one-third of those surveyed watch content on devices, higher than the global average. This trend is relatively lower among viewers in the UAE with only 15 per cent watching the content on multiple devices.

Despite the surge in online consumption, traditional TV sets still play a huge part in our lives, with three quarters of respondents (75 per cent) sitting in front of the box every day. In Saudi Arabia, this rises to 91%, with the UAE not so far behind at 86 per cent. TV dinners are also alive and well, with three out of four viewers (76 per cent) giving TV their undivided attention while eating in the evening.