TiVo: Multitasking During TV Viewing On The Rise

If you’re watching TV, there’s a pretty good chance that you’re also fiddling with a smartphone, tablet or laptop, according to TiVo's latest study on multitasking and social TV.

The report, which surveyed 856 people, found that more than half of the respondents (51%)  reported multitasking every time or almost every time they watch TV, versus just 36% in its first survey on the topic last year.

According to the study, the top TV-time activity is browsing the Internet (74%), reading or sending email (73%), and text messaging (71%). The top device used while watching the TV is the smartphone, followed by laptops/netbooks, tablets, desktop computers, portable game systems and the iPod Touch.

But 47% of their total TV time is spent with their primary attention on the TV show they’re watching, up from 39% last year. The study also found that 27% of their TV time is spent only watching TV (not multitasking), down from 35% in 2013.

"Even given the proliferation of multitasking, viewers remain primarily focused on the television shows they are watching," said TiVo chief research officer Jonathan Steuer, in a statement. "To paraphrase the Bard, the program’s the thing!”

The study also looked at how people spend their time during commercial breaks, with a trip to the loo (85%) on top, followed by getting a drink or snack (78%), talking to people in the house (50%), surfing the Internet (44%), channel surfing (41%), and fast-forwarding using the DVR (38%).

The survey also found that 25% said searching the Internet for informaon about a program is the top activity that increases their enjoyment of TV, while reading episode recaps and reviews were next, at 10%.