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TV Is Prime Focus When Set Is On

From February 6, 2014 – Center for Media Research: TV Is Prime Focus When Set Is On

According to a new study from TiVo Inc., 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, (69% by browsing the Internet 48% while cooking, and 23% chatting online,) 76% of people surveyed report their primary focus is actually watching what’s on TV. In fact, more than 45% of TiVo users and 35% of non-TiVo users said their attention was directed only towards TV, and not to anything else, while watching.

Among those who report having ever multitasked while watching TV, 61% use smartphones most frequently, and 6% use portable gaming systems least frequently. However, numbers drop when asked about frequent device usage while watching TV. 24% of respondents report using smartphones every time or almost every time they watch TV.

Though many respondents report using the Internet to find content related to their favorite shows, only 27% said they do so while watching their programs. Rather, online activity more often occurs after watching a program; 14% report turning to the Internet immediately after watching, and 32% 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) to connect with others to discuss TV shows. 61% of TiVo users and 55% of non-TiVo users agreed with the statement: “I only want to discuss TV with people I know, not with Internet strangers.” 43% 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% of respondents who are TiVo users said they actually notice TV hashtags. That said, of those TiVo users who notice hashtags, 63% said they don’t like seeing them during shows, while only 3% said they liked seeing them.

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. Some shows demand viewers’ full attention due to complex plot twists or dialogue. 73% 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.”

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