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TiVo research reveals upsurge in TV multitasking

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TiVo has revealed results from its Second Annual TiVo Multitasking and Social TV Survey.

The results indicate a dramatic increase in multitasking during TV viewing: over half of the 856 survey respondents reported multitasking every time or almost every time they watch TV (51 percent); compared to just over one third (36 percent) in last year’s survey.

Though TV multitasking may be on the increase, viewers also report an increase in TV viewing as the primary focus: 47 percent of respondents’ total TV time is spent with their primary attention on the TV show while multitasking, versus last year’s 39 percent. Twenty six percent of their TV time is spent multitasking with their main focus on another task, similar to the 2013 study, and 27 percent of their TV time is spent only watching TV (not multitasking), down from 35 percent in 2013.

Despite the pronounced increase in TV multitasking, viewers continue to report that their alternate activities are only rarely related to the program being watched. Only 5 percent of respondents report TV-related multitasking every time or almost every time they watch TV, while 50 percent report never or almost never engaging in TV-related multitasking. Top TV-time activities include browsing the Internet (74 percent), reading or sending email (73 percent) and text messaging (71 percent).

“Even given the proliferation of multitasking, viewers remain primarily focused on the television shows they are watching,” comments TiVo Chief Research Officer Jonathan Steuer. “To paraphrase the Bard, the program’s the thing!”

Online engagement with favourite programs has indeed become commonplace: 61 percent of respondents report searching the Internet for information about the programs they watch and 47 percent have “liked” a show’s official Facebook page.  However, these activities do not usually occur while watching the program.

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