Simultaneous Digital Users

According to the latest Nielsen Cross-Platform Report, Americans spent more than 34 hours per week in front of a TV set in Q2, 2012, where they watched traditional TV, DVDs and played games. 

Most of the content from these activities was delivered to the TV set in a traditional manner, over broadcast, cable, satellite or telco connection, and a growing amount was delivered by Internet connection.  Americans also added another five hours in front of the computer screen using the Internet, or watching video content, and an increasing amount of time using Smartphones this quarter.

Average Time Spent Per Person Per Day (People 2+ in US TV HH)


Time Spent Per Day (Hrs/Mins)


Q2 2010

Q2 2011

Q2 2012

Live TV




DVR playback




Video games




DVD playback




Source: Nielsen, November 2012

Tablets and Smartphones are proving to be novel, and potentially necessary utilities, to enable a new trans-generational community of connected consumers that crosses age, gender, race and ethnic lines to participate in the multitasking that used to be reserved for the young, or tech savvy elite. 

While tablets and Smartphones offer the freedom of mobility, close to 40% of Americans now use them while watching TV at least once a day, and twice as many do it at least once a month. Smartphones now have a market penetration greater than 50%, and tablets are already in nearly 20% of US TV homes.

More than 39% of people use their Smartphone at least once a day while watching TV; 62% say they do this multiple times a week, and 84% do at least once a month. Additional simultaneous usage noted in the report includes:

  • Age groups 25-34 and 55-64 are the most likely to use tablets multiple times per day while watching TV
  • Nearly half of the 18-24 year olds use their Smartphones while watching TV at lease twice a day
  • 85% of tablet/Smartphone owners use their device while watching TV at least once a month, with 40% of them daily
  • 36% of people 35-54 and 44% of people 55-64 use their tablets to dive deeper into the TV program they are currently watching
  • 41% use their tablet, and 39% their Smartphone, at least once a day while watching TV
  • 44% of 18-24 year olds and 50% of 25-34 year olds are visiting social networking sites on their Smartphones during both commercials and programs while watching TV
  • 55-64 year olds are the heaviest web surfers and email checkers on tablets during commercial breaks and programs
  • eMailing is the heaviest simultaneous Smartphone activity across all demos, with over 50% of user checking during commercials and programs
  • Nearly a third of tablet users aged 25-64 check sports scores on their tablets while watching TV
  • 29% of 25-34 year olds shop on their Smartphones while watching TV

Source: Nielsen, November 2012

For more information from Nielsen, please visit the blog here.




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