When we watch television, we often have someone else in our household watching with us: a spouse, a child, a roommate, even a family guest. That behavior is called ‘co-viewing,’ and it’s been a topic of intense social research for as long as television has been around.
Co-viewing has been a topic of commercial interest as well ever since it was discovered that joint media attention could improve learning, engage memory and, by extension, stimulate brand recall. Today, co-viewing is not limited to traditional television viewing—what we refer to in the industry as linear TV. With the emergence of digital technologies and increased content streaming over the internet, it’s become vital for media companies to understand consumers’ co-viewing patterns across different platforms.
While co-viewing trends on tablets and smartphones have been studied, co-viewing activity using over-the-top (OTT) devices (set-tops like Roku and Apple TV, Smart TVs, and game consoles) has received limited attention due to a lack of accurate measurement solutions. However, with programming content typically displayed on a regular-size television screen and in a familiar household setting—the hallmarks of traditional co-viewing activity—OTT devices are probably the digital platform that should invite the most immediate scrutiny.
In this paper, we present a robust methodology to perform a fair evaluation of co-viewing activity on OTT devices and compare it to standard television co-viewing benchmarks, and we share exciting preliminary results from our research.