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TV the main focus of viewers even when multitasking: Tivo survey

MUMBAI: Tivo, which offers DVR technology, has announced the results of its 2013 Social Media and Multitasking Survey. The survey found that, despite the prevalence of multitasking in everyday life, most people in the US are actively watching TV programming when their sets are on.

Though many viewers report having multitasked at least once while watching TV — by, for example, browsing the Internet (69 per cent), cooking (48 per cent), or chatting online (23 per cent) — more than three quarters (76 per cent) of people surveyed report their primary focus is actually watching what’s on TV. In fact, more than 45 per cent of Tivo users and 35 per cent of non-TiVo users said their attention was directed only towards TV, and not to anything else, while watching.

Device usage while watching: Among those who report having ever multitasked while watching TV, smartphones are used most frequently (61 per cent) and portable gaming systems least frequently (six per cent). However, numbers drop when asked about frequent device usage while watching TV. Slightly less than one quarter (24 per cent) of respondents report using smartphones every time or almost every time they watch TV.

Second screen comes second: Though many respondents report using the Internet to find content related to their favourite shows, only 27 per cent said they do so while watching their programmes. Rather, online activity more often occurs after watching a programme; fourteen per cent report turning to the Internet immediately after watching and 32 per cent 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 networks) to connect with others to discuss TV shows. Sixty-one per cent of TiVo users and 55 per cent of non-TiVo users agreed with the statement: “I only want to discuss TV with people I know, not with Internet strangers.”

Nearly half (43 per cent) 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 per cent of respondents who are Tivo users said they actually notice TV hashtags. That said, of those Tivo users who notice hashtags, 63 per cent said they don’t like seeing them during shows, while only three per cent said they liked seeing hashtags.

Spoiler alert factor: 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.

The ‘Game of Thrones’ factor: Some shows practically demand viewers’ full attention due to complex plot twists or dialogue. In fact, 73 per cent 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.”

Tivo conducted this online survey of 1,660 households from 16 October – 7 November, 2013. Of the participants, 40 per cent were Tivo subscribers, 48 per cent non-subscribers and 12 per cent were recruited from social media sites. All survey participants were over the age of 18 and watched at least seven hours of TV per week. The composition of the survey was consistent with the US in terms of household income and age range.