Most Digital Viewers Multitask While Watching Live TV - eMarketer

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Most Digital Viewers Multitask While Watching Live TV

Commercials are the likely reason

November 30, 2015

More digital viewers say they multitask while watching live television than other TV and video formats, such as over-the-top (OTT) streaming content and timeshifted TV, according to a September 2015 survey.

TV/Video Format During Which US Internet Users Are Most Likely to Multitask, Sep 2015 (% of respondents)

The research, from TiVo, polled US digital video viewers ages 18 and older. More than half of respondents (53%) said live television was the TV or video format during which they most likely multitasked.

Additionally, 28% of US digital video viewers said they were most likely to multitask while watching timeshifted TV, and 19% said they would most likely multitask while watching OTT or streamed content, such as Netflix and Hulu.

Frequency with Which US TV Viewers Multitask During Commercials, Aug 2014 (% of respondents)

Commercials are likely the reason why more digital video viewers multitask while watching TV. Netflix doesn’t have commercials, but other streamed content, like Hulu, does. And viewers are frequently turning to other distractions when their show or live event is on commercial break.

A separate August 2014 survey from TiVo looked at the frequency with which US TV viewers multitask during commercials. Only 5% of respondents said they never, or almost never, multitasked during commercial breaks. In contrast, more than half (56%) of US TV viewers said they multitask almost every, or every time, there is a commercial break. And 40% said they multitask sometimes during commercials.

Notably, that multitasking does not all take the form marketers might be most interested in, of TV viewers turning to laptops, tablets or phone to surf the internet, use apps or participate in social media. The most common in the September 2015 TiVo survey was eating, at 76%, followed by sending text messages, at 69%.

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