Nielsen Study Shows 40% of Tablet Owners Multitask with TV

Posted by at 8:54 am on October 13, 2011

Many if not most smartphone and tablet owners are often using the device at the same time as they watch TV, Nielsen found Thursday. About 40 percent of phone owners and 42 percent of tablet owners used theirs every day in front of the TV. About a quarter more in each case were using it multiple times a week, making use in front of the TV near ubiquitous.

The majority of these, about 60 percent, were checking e-mail, while about 46 percent were looking at an unrelated website. Only about 30 percent were actually looking up information relating to the show and fewer still for the ads, suggesting that TV show companion apps only appealed to a subset of the group. Whether or not a show was at a commercial break didn’t matter and suggested that many were only half paying attention to the show itself.

Gender only mattered with sports, where men were stereotypically far more likely to check, while women were somewhat more likely to be checking a social network.

The prevalence wasn’t fully explained, although the form factor likely plays one of the biggest roles. Tablets in particular were designed to be used on a lap or other non-traditional environment where notebooks are too big, heavy, or slow to respond in front of the TV.

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