Tablets cannibalize TV viewing, while smart phones complement TV and PC usage, a new study sponsored by Orange has found. The study, conducted by TNS, looked at mobile media habits across the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Poland.

The survey reveals some striking differences in behaviour between mobile and tablet usage both inside and outside the home, with potential implications for advertisers, content providers and distributors. Tablets cannibalize, smart phones supplement TV

The research revealed that respondents use smart phones to “kill time,” using mobile when they don’t have access to other screens, but use tablets to “save time,” using tablets in place of other screens. That might imply that smart phones, aside from being uniquely suited to location-based services, are better suited to short form content items that can be consumed quickly, while users are in between other activities.

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Tablets, on the other hand, with larger screens, seem to be substitutes for PCs, with some notable exceptions. While tablet usage is more akin to PC usage in the UK with 95 per cent of usage at home, in Spain, mid-sized tablets such as Samsung’s Galaxy Tab are being used as navigation devices outside the home, a usage pattern that is closer to that of smart phones.

There is evidence to suggest that tablet devices are actually cannibalizing home TV viewing and PC usage, as well.

In the United Kingdom, 35 percent of tablet users are watching on demand content, 40 percent are watching streaming content and 39 percent are ‘watching TV’ on their tablet. The UK has also seen a 15 percent decrease in PC usage since tablets came on the scene.

Conversely, smart phones seem to complement TV consumption. In France, for example, 19 percent of users say they watch more TV as a result of their mobile media usage. Tablet, smart phone study

Mobile also has a positive impact on other media and device use. Some 20 percent of U.K. customers say they browse on the PC more and 15 percent read more newspapers online as a result of engaging with smart phone multimedia.

The research also shows that tablet users were 50 percent more likely to purchase online than mobile users. That probably is not surprising. Larger screens and better input-output interfaces make the tablet or PC shopping experience easier.

More than 60 percent of tablet users have made at least one m-commerce transaction (paying, reserving or redeeming something). This compares to 47 percent of mobile users.

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