TV Competes for Viewers' Attention with Phones, Tablets
by Leslie Meredith, TechNewsDaily Senior Writer
April 05 2012 02:48 PM ET
Maybe TV feels like too much of a guilty pleasure in these days of hyperproductivity, but for whatever reason, more Americans than ever are using their phones and tablets while watching television.
The granddaddy of TV viewer research, Nielsen, released its quarterly study measuring the frequency of double-device use for the last quarter of 2011. In just three months, the number of people watching TV while using a phone or tablet rose 5 percent — 41 percent of smartphone users and 45 percent of tablet-tappers.
Email. People check their email either during a commercial break or during a show, the Nielsen study found. But other second-screen activities are also on the rise, including looking up information related to the show or to products advertised on TV.
Nielsen's survey also compared the viewing habits of the U.S. with some of their European counterparts — TV watchers in the U.K., Germany and Italy. While occasional use of smartphones and tablets while watching TV was common in all groups, people in Germany and Italy were least likely to do it. About twice the number of Germans and Italians said they "never" use a second device while watching TV.