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Nielsen: Heavy Tablet Usage While Watching TV

A new report from Nielsen finds that 88% of all U.S. tablet owners simultaneously use their tablet while watching TV at least once a month and that large numbers (45%) of all U.S. tablet owners were watching TV while using their tablet at least once a day in the fourth quarter of 2011.

A significant proportion, 26%, were using tablets and watching TV simultaneously several times a day in the U.S., Nielsen found.

The survey also found extensive use of smart phones while watching TV. Only 14% of U.S. smart phone owners never used their phone while watching TV, while 41% had their smart phone in hand while viewing TV. About 86% used their smart phone and TV at the same time at least one a month.

The numbers provide new support for efforts by broadcasters, cable channels and multichannel providers to provide second screen apps or synch apps that can enhance the viewing experience of live TV.

They survey also covered tablet use in U.K., Germany and Italy. "Device owners in the U.K. logged heavy usage for tablets (80%) and smart phones (78)," a Nielsen blog announcing the results noted, while Italians and Germans were least likely, with 29% in both countries reporting that they never used a tablet while watching TV.