TiVo Study: Multitasking Viewers Rarely Engage in TV-Related Side Activities

By Adam Flomenbaum 

Tivo-logo-widescreenTiVo last week released results from its second annual ‘Multitasking and Social TV Survey.’ The company surveyed 856 people who watched at least seven hours of TV per week. 51% of respondents said that they multitask every time or almost every time they watch TV; this is compared to 36% who said they multitask in last year’s survey.

While multitasking is on the rise, more viewers are primarily paying attention to the show they’re watching. 47% of respondents’ total TV time is spent with their primary attention on the TV show while multitasking, compared to 39% in last year’s survey.

“Even given the proliferation of multitasking, viewers remain primarily focused on the television shows they are watching,” said TiVo Chief Research Officer Jonathan Steuer. “To paraphrase the Bard, the program’s the thing!”

TiVo’s study also confirms the findings of Deloitte’s latest Digital Democracy Survey, which was released in March: while multitasking is on the rise, viewers are not engaging much in second-screen activities related to the program.

Only 5% of respondents report TV-related multitasking every time or almost every time they watch TV, while 50% report never or almost never engaging in TV-related multitasking. Top TV-time activities include browsing the Internet (74%), reading or sending email (73%) and text messaging (71%).

Still, social TV marketers should note that 61% of the respondents said that they search the web for information about the shows that they watch and 47% said that they have ‘liked’ a show’s Facebook page.


Below, more findings from the study:

63% have noticed Twitter hashtags displayed during television shows, but of this group, only 12% liked seeing hashtags while 53% disliked them. A similar trend occurs with onscreen polls; 37% have noticed them, and within this group, 20% liked and 45% disliked the polls.

– 94% of respondents reported that they have multitasked while watching TV.

– The smartphone (78%) and the laptop (72%) are the two most popular devices used while watching TV (see graph below).

– 58% of respondents reported that they use another device almost every or every time they watch TV.

– During commercial breaks, 56% of respondents report multitasking every time or almost every time.

– 25% of those surveyed said searching the Internet for information about a program is the top activity that increases their enjoyment of TV; reading episode recaps and reviews comes in second at 10%.

– Only 22% reported ever posting on social media sites about shows they watch; 5% of all respondents do this a few times a week or more.

– Of those who do post to social media about their TV faves, the majority (71%) selected Facebook as the site they most commonly post about TV; Twitter came in a distant second with 24%.