A study discussed in today's Multichannel News confirms what my family already knows, that the second screen is preferred over the big TV screen. And while the study focuses on children ages 2-12, my slightly older children also prefer their handheld devices over the big screen TV set. Their study finds that 57% of parents find that their children would choose their mobile device over a TV screen.
I can also share that in my household my children seem to choose their iPhone over their iPad to view certain content. It may be because of convenience, they always carry their smartphone, or perhaps simply laziness. I'm not quite sure. But what I do see is that they prefer these devices because of content that appeals to them from sites ranging from Netflix to You Tube. That they can binge view and watch commercial-free. That they can watch the same video multiple times and they can watch where ever they decide to sit, from the stairs to the bed to the desk. It is the ultimate what you want, when you want, where you want, how you want to watch.
And while I don't personally approve, I see these parents of younger children hand off their smartphone in restaurants, supermarkets, and other establishments as entertainment distractions from other activities. It becomes the ultimate babysitter. I am not a fan, especially in a restaurant where I restrict use of these devices. The dining table is for conversation and social interaction, not for independence and anti-social behavior. It may distract the 4 year old, but it is not a good habit.
This preference for the mobile screen over the TV set is what scares cable distributors the most. If enough desired content can be found away from the cable box, consumers may no longer see the price - value of being a cable subscriber. Until cable can gain more content exclusivity, more cord cutting is destined to occur as these next generations of consumers no long value the cable box in their home.