04 December 2012

More Americans Watch TV, Use Social Network on a Second Device Simultaneously

04 12 2012 - Do we have a shorter attention span than in years past? Does watching television lower your IQ? What about watching television while simultaneously surfing social media and perhaps listening to music?

Increasingly, we’re becoming “bi-screenular.”

According to the Nielsen company, one in three people using Twitter (News - Alert) in June sent messages about the content of the television shows they were also watching – an increase of 27 percent from only five months earlier. And that was before the Olympics, which was probably the first big event to illustrate the extent what’s being called our “second screen” usage.

As of today, about 41 percent of tablet owners and 38 percent of smartphone owners used their device while also watching television at least once a day, the research found.

"Twitter has become the second screen experience for television," said Deirdre Bannon, vice president of social media at Nielsen.

However, it’s not the most dubious circumstance under which heavy social media users engage in networking. The same Nielsen study found that a third of people between 18 and 24 years old reported using sites such as Facebook (News - Alert) and Twitter while in the bathroom.

Today, more and more people own tablets and smartphones and they are using them for longer periods of time. Nielsen has estimated that Americans spent a total of 157.5 billion minutes on mobile devices in July 2012, nearly doubling the 81.8 billion the same month a year earlier, the Associated Pressis reporting today.

"There are big and interesting implications," Bannon said. "I think both television networks and advertisers are onto it."

Social media posts have become a valuable source of information for companies like Nielsen that study how people watch television.


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