Multitasking With TV And Smartphones or Tablets

According to a new study and report by Keith Nissen, MRG Co., multitasking while watching TV has become a hot topic within the TV entertainment industry.  Everyone is seeking to understand how we will use our second-screen devices and especially how they will be used in relation to the TV programs we are watching.  During 2013. multitasking behavior in the US has evolved at the expense of non-multitaskers and those who multitask unrelated to television.

Multitasking Behavior While Watching TV (% of Tablet/Smartphone Users)

Behavior

1st Q 2013

3rd Q 2013

Non-multitaskers

48%

40%

Multitasking unrelated to TV

36

39

Multitasking related to TV

16

21

Source: MRG, November 2013

The primary research data used for this analysis was collected from online surveys conducted in 1Q and 3Q 2013.  Survey respondents owning a smartphone and/or tablet were asked to categorize their multitasking behavior while watching TV.  Non-multitaskers represent those who indicated they do not often use their mobile device while watching TV.  A second group includes those that frequently multitask, but not related to the TV program they are watching.  The final group is TV multitaskers; those who frequently multitask related to the TV program they are watching.

According to the report, the survey data confirms that, in general, multitasking while watching TV is a growing trend and that an increasing number of US adults are becoming TV multitaskers. The data shows that most TV multitaskers are younger adults between the ages of 18-35.  The 35-44 age group is rapidly adopting mobile device multitasking, but still lags the younger adults in performing TV-related multitasking activities.

Multitasking Behavior While Watching TV (By Age; 3Q 2013; % of tablet/smartphone users)

 

Age Group

Multitask Behavior

18-24

25-34

35-44

45-54

55-64

65+

I do not use my TV and my smartphone/tablet at the same time very often.

20%

24%

27%

45%

61%

81%

I multitask often, using my smartphone/tablet only for activities unrelated to what I am watching on TV (i.e. txt, social networking, Internet searches).

43%

47%

51%

39%

26%

13%

I multitask often, using my smartphone/tablet for activities that are sometimes related to what I am watching on TV.  (e.g. view a trailer, social network about TV shows, etc.)

37%

29%

22%

15%

13%

6%

Source: MRG, November 2013

TV multitasking behavior during 2013 grew in all age groups:

TV Multitasking by Age (Approx % of Tablet/Smartphone Owners)

Age Group

1st Q 2013

3rd Q  2013

18-24

24.5%

37%

25-34

27

28.5

35-44

20.5

21.5

45-54

10.5

15

55-64

7.5

12.5

65+

7

5

Source: MRG, November 2013

Technology adoption attitudes also play a major role in adopting TV multitasking behavior, says the report.  As smartphones and tablets have achieved mass market acceptance, device ownership has progressed from leading edge and early technology adopters to those less motivated by technology.  These individuals have more traditional views on device use and do not necessarily adopt the same device use behavior as technology mavens.

The growth of TV multitasking behavior during 2013 by technology attitude category indicates that the percentage of leading edge adopters performing TV multitasking has grown substantially over the past six months.  Early technology adopters are close followers, showing slightly less growth in TV multitasking.  These two groups represent about one-third of total US adults.

Those that typically wait until a technology is proven to work well (proven tech group) represent about 40% of US adults.  During 2013, a large number of these individuals have adopted multitasking behavior, says the report. While the overall percentage of TV multitaskers within this group is small, they represent an impressive 11 million individuals.

TV Multitasking (% of Group)

Adoption Technology

1st Q 2013

3rd Q 2013

Leading Edge

   Non-Multitaskers

29%

23%

   Multitasking unrelated to TV

39

38

   Multitasking related to TV

32

38

Early Adaptors

…Non-Multitaskers

34%

28%

   Multitasking unrelated to TV

44

45

   Multitasking related to TV

23

27

Proven Technology

   Non-Multitaskers

51%

42%

   Multitasking unrelated to TV

37

41

   Multitasking related to TV

12

17

Source: MRG, November 2013

Overall, the research supports the conclusion that TV multitasking behavior is a growing trend, says the report. Older adults, as well as those less motivated by new technology are increasingly using their mobile devices to perform multitasking activities related to the TV program being watched.   As more TV programming is designed to encourage audience participation, TV multitasking is likely to play a major role in the next-generation TV viewing experience.

For additional information from MRG, please visit here.

 

 

 

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