Live TV Viewing Dips, Cross-Screen Digital Use Up

TV-on-Ipad-ALive television viewing continues to lose ground -- albeit slowly -- as time-shifted programming and multitasking with smartphones and/or tablets gains ground.

Nielsen's new cross-media platform report shows live viewing in the second quarter of 2012 averaged 4 hours and 18 minutes a day, down five minutes a day from the second quarter of 2011.

Live viewing in the second quarter has remained fairly constant in previous years: 4:20 in the second quarter of 2010; 4:23 in the second quarter of 2009; and 4:23 in the second quarter of 2008.

Averaged DVR playback -- time-shifted programming -- was at 22 minutes a day, up from 20 minutes a year ago. (About 45% of U.S. TV homes have DVRs). Video game use stayed the same, at 12 minutes a day, while DVD playback declined to 10 minutes from 12 minutes.

Multitasking with video-capable devices also continues to climb. Close to 40% of Americans now use their tablets or smartphones while watching TV at least once a day -- 85% at least once a month.

Drilling down, Nielsen says 29% of people use their smartphone at least once a day while watching TV, and nearly 50% of those younger 18- to-24-year-olds use it while watching TV.

Almost 30% of those 25-34 use their smartphones to shop while watching TV. Smartphones now have a market penetration greater than 50%, and tablets are already in nearly 20% of U.S. TV homes.

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