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Multitasking TV Viewers Primarily Focus on the Television

Smartphones are the top device for multiscreening

February 27, 2014 | Media Buying | Media & Entertainment

Devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops and portable gaming systems have made it easy for consumers to multitask while watching television. However, a November 2013 study by TiVo found that three-quarters of US TV viewers were more focused on what was on the tube, even when using a second screen.

Smartphones were the No. 1 device respondents used while watching TV, with more than six in 10 saying they had “ever” used a smartphone while watching television and around one-quarter who “almost always” used such a device during the activity. Nearly half of TV viewers had used a laptop while watching TV, but just 11% almost always multiscreened with the device, compared with about one-fifth of viewers who almost always used a tablet.

Devices Used Simultaneously While Watching TV According to US TV Viewers, Nov 2013 (% of respondents)

Searching the internet for information was the most common activity conducted while watching TV, cited by more than one-quarter of TV viewers. No other activity came close to this level of usage; just 7% or fewer respondents said they used social media to learn more about an episode as they viewed it. Usage immediately after a program remained relatively low for all activities, but skyrocketed as the week went on. One possible reason for this? Avoiding spoilers.

TV-Related Internet Activities Performed by US TV Viewers, Nov 2013 (% of respondents)

But not all second screening while watching TV actually revolves around what’s on the television. Research by Multimedia Research Group found that multitasking unrelated to TV among US smartphone/tablet users while watching a show jumped from 30% to 39% between Q1 2013 and Q3 2013, compared with 16% to 21% for TV-related multitasking. However, multitasking had risen overall during the period, with nonmultitaskers falling from 48% of respondents in Q1 2013 to 40% in Q3 2013.

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