Study: 80% of mobile device users multitask while watching TV

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Eighty percent of web-enabled mobile device owners say they multitask while watching television, relying on smartphones and tablets to communicate with friends and family, look up content related to the program they're watching or access information totally unrelated to the broadcast at hand.

According to a new survey issued by Yahoo and Razorfish, 70 percent of mobile multitaskers do so at least once per week, and 49 percent report multitasking every day. More than 60 percent check their device at least once or twice during the course of a given TV program, and 15 percent remain on the mobile web for the duration of the show. A full 38 percent of respondents agreed with the statement "Using the Internet on my mobile or tablet device while watching TV enhances my viewing experience"--at the same time, another 38 percent agreed with the statement "I find using mobile devices while watching TV to be distracting."

"This seems to be an opportunity for content producers and advertisers alike," writes Razorfish vice president of emerging media Jeremy Lockhorn. "Some people find multitasking to be a boon, and we have only begun to scratch the surface in terms of providing an engaging dual-screen experience. It's like the early days of smartphones where it was remarkable that people were making purchases from sites that were not mobile-optimized. If folks were willing to go through that much effort, it stands to reason that making the experience easier and more streamlined will lead to even more passionate participants."

Ninety-four percent of multitaskers engage in some kind of mobile communication, Yahoo and Razorfish report. Text leads all channels, followed in descending order by talking, email, social networking and IM. Sixty percent of multitaskers access additional content of some type, with 44 percent seeking information unrelated to the current program and 38 percent searching for data related to the broadcast. In addition, 36 percent say they go looking for more information related to a commercial they just viewed.

Additional findings of the survey:

  • Fifty-two percent of consumers use their mobile device to escape awkward social situations.
  • Fifty-eight percent of men "fact-check" information on their mobile browser while attending a live sporting event, with 47 percent checking out scores of other games and player updates.
  • Seventy percent of men under the age of 35 have made online purchases on their smartphones, compared to 64 percent of women in the same age demographic.
  • Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 4S leads all mobile phone searches according to Yahoo Shopping data, followed by the Samsung Galaxy S2, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the Motorola Razr and the Nokia (NYSE:NOK) N9.

For more:
- read this report
- read this release

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