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Multitask & multiscreen: TiVo survey reveals viewing habits

TiVo have announced the results of its 2013 Social Media and Multitasking Survey. The survey found that, despite the prevalence of multitasking in everyday life, most are actually actively watching TV programming when their sets are on.

Though many viewers report having multitasked at least once while watching TV — by, for example, browsing the Internet (69 percent), cooking (48 percent), or chatting online (23 percent) — more than three quarters (76 percent) of people surveyed report their primary focus is actually watching what’s on TV. In fact, more than 45 percent of TiVo users and 35 percent of non-TiVo users said their attention was directed only towards TV, and not to anything else, while watching.

Device Usage While Watching

Among those who report having ever multitasked while watching TV, smartphones are used most frequently (61 percent) and portable gaming systems least frequently (six percent). However, numbers drop when asked about frequent device usage while watching TV. Slightly less than one quarter (24 percent) of respondents report using smartphones every time or almost every time they watch TV.

Second Screen Comes Second

Though many respondents report using the Internet to find content related to their favorite shows, only 27 percent said they do so while watching their programs. Rather, online activity more often occurs after watching a program; fourteen percent report turning to the Internet immediately after watching and 32 percent search for related TV content on the Internet sometime during the following week.

Additionally, the survey found most TV viewers are not using the Internet (not including social media networks) to connect with others to discuss TV shows. Sixty-one percent of TiVo users and 55 percent of non-TiVo users agreed with the statement: “I only want to discuss TV with people I know, not with Internet strangers.” Nearly half (43 percent) of social media users also agreed with this statement, preferring to turn to their social networks versus open Internet forums to interact with others to discuss TV programming.

With more networks and specific shows encouraging viewers to live tweet or follow along with Twitter conversations via hashtags, 68 percent of respondents who are TiVo users said they actually notice TV hashtags. That said, of those TiVo users who notice hashtags, 63 percent said they don’t like seeing them during shows, while only three percent said they liked seeing hashtags.

Spoiler Alert Factor

One quarter of all viewers reported actively avoiding the Internet until they watched certain episodes, to ensure missing spoilers like which participants were voted off the island or fired.

The Game of Thrones Factor

Some shows practically demand viewers’ full attention due to complex plot twists or dialogue. In fact, 73 percent of survey respondents agree that “there are certain shows that are so important to me or so tricky to follow, I make sure not to do other things while I am watching them.”

TiVo conducted this online survey of 1,660 households from October 16 – November 7, 2013. Of the participants, 40 percent were TiVo subscribers, 48 percent non-subscribers and 12 percent were recruited from social media sites. All survey participants were over the age of 18 and watched at least seven hours of TV per week. The composition of the survey was consistent with the U.S. in terms of household income and age range.

 

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