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Survey Says Most People Watch TV While Watching TV



imageWith Nielsen counting TV Tweets and networks releasing their own second screen TV apps, one would think that every TV watcher is splitting his attention between the box and the. . . other box. 

Not true, says TiVo. A large number of people admit to multitasking on occasion, (48% cook, 23% have chatted online, 69% have surfed the web) 76% said that their primary focus while watching TV is on the TV.

This is even more true for TiVo users who have the ability to time shift a show to a more convenient time. Not surprising since it’s not as much fun to talk about plot twists three days after everyone else discussed the major move on Twitter.

Those who do multitask turn to their smartphone most often (61%) and their portable gaming system the least (6%). I’m a tablet user myself but when I tried to watch Castle and play Disney’s Hidden World at the same time, it was a no go. (Guess which one got my full attention.)

TiVo would like to emphasis that split attention isn’t an every time thing. Only 24% of those surveyed said they use their smartphone every time they watch TV.

TiVo MultitaskingHere’s a funny thing, 27% of people said they tend to search the internet for information about a show while they’re watching the show. You’d think the next big number would come right after a show airs but it’s actually a week later (32%). Only 14% said they go online right after an episode airs.

As an expert on TV fan behavior, I think I can explain this one. The diehards are connecting live – reacting to events as they unfold or checking in using show apps for prizes and additional information. Once a show ends, the average viewer rolls right into another or heads to bed. Then, just before their show airs again, they go online to find the episode synopsis, to see if its a new episode or a rerun or catch up on news. It’s no coincidence that TV blogs post news a day or two before the show airs. It’s when people are searching.

One interesting fact to come out of this survey is that the vast majority of people are only interested in discussing TV with friends, not strangers. Social media users agree, Facebook is preferred over an open Internet forum. My guess here is that keeping it close to home is safer. Believe me, the person who wrote “the pen is mightier than the sword” clearly had TV forum flame wars in mind.

The biggest problem with connecting while your watching is the spoiler factor. As a west coast watcher, I have to log off Twitter hours before my favorite shows air to avoid unintentional plot twist reveals. (OMG, I can’t believe they killed Bobby!)

Note to TV networks: 63% of people said hashtags on the screen are annoying, so stop it. If we’re interested, we can figure it out for ourselves.

Finally, there’s what TiVo calls The Game of Thrones Factor. 73% of people say there are some shows that are so complicated, you can’t possibly multi-task and keep up.

I say that’s what pause and rewind are for.