Whether to check email or to look up programme or product information, watching TV while using a tablet or smartphone is more common than not according to a Q4 2011 Nielsen survey of connected device owners in the US , UK, Germany and Italy. In the US, 88 per cent of tablet owners and 86 per cent of smartphone owners said they used their device while watching TV at least once during a 30-day period. For 45 per cent of tablet-tapping Americans, using their device while watching TV was a daily event, with 26 per cent noting simultaneous TV and tablet use several times a day. US smartphone owners showed similar dual usage of TV with their phones, with 41 per cent saying their use their phone at least once a day while tuned in.
Device owners in the UK also logged heavy usage for tablets (80 per cent) and smartphones (78 per cent) while watching TV. British daily usage of smartphones or tablets while watching TV rivalled that of the US. Nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of those surveyed claiming to use their device several times a day while watching TV.
Italians and Germans were the least likely to use a device while watching TV. In both countries, 29 per cent of users said they never use a tablet and TV together and 34 of Italians and 35 per cent of Germans said they don’t use their smartphone while watching TV.
The most frequent tablet or smartphone activity across all countries while also watching TV was checking email — either during a commercial break or during the show. Yet device owners also seem to engage with content related to the TV as well, either by looking up information related to the show or looking for deals and general information on products advertised on TV.