Lots of People Use a Tablet While Watching TV

Nielsen has just released their latest consumer survey, and it’s not much of a surprise. This time around Neilsen asked American consumers what they did while watching TV. If you’re a tablet owner and TV watcher then you can probably guess how people responded.

I don’t watch live TV anymore, so I was a little surprised to learn how many still do. The full set of results is over at the Nielsen blog, but the highlights include:

  • 69% use a tablet while watching TV
  • 61% check email while watching
  • 47% visit a social network

If you ask me, they didn’t ask enough questions. I read while watching TV shows or movies, and I also check RSS feeds, blogs, do other work stuff. Probably lots of other people do the same, but we don’t know that because it’s not covered by the survey.

I’d also like to see Nielsen do a poll on how the weberati watch TV. Unlike live TV, I can pause what I’m watching and come back to it. This makes it far more likely that I interrupt my viewing with other activiites.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Paul27 April, 2012

    Nate, what about toilet habits? 😉 I find any break I can get from the computer, I grab my Kindle. Ok, possibly too much information.


  2. Richard Adin28 April, 2012

    Then there are those like me who simply don’t watch TV at all — either live or delayed or any which way. When we get a movie from Netflix, I watch that without any other distraction, but that is the extent to which I turn on the TV at all.

    Interestingly, the Smithsonian Channel has a free app in the B&N app store. I downloaded it to my Nook Tablet thinking maybe I would watch something. Other than trying it when I first installed it for about 30 seconds, I have not opened the app at all, and probably won’t.

    It has been at least 20 years since I last watched TV, live or otherwise, with the exception of the presidential debates.

    1. Paul28 April, 2012

      I agree with you. I haven’t owned or watched TV in about 7 years. Just bores me or sucks time. I do watch movies on my computer, tho.


  3. Lyn29 April, 2012

    didn’t realize people use the tablet this much but to think of it, i guess people really do. i’m probably one of those people who prefer watching or reading the news on a tablet and not on tv. Thanks for sharing this article as always!

    1. Logan Kennelly29 April, 2012

      From what I have seen, it depends a lot on your situation. Watching television is a social experience for the household, and, possibly due to the keyboard noise or the association with work, using laptops is seen as rude. Using smartphones and tablets are more acceptable.

      However, if you are alone then you have a wider selection of options for your media. We haven’t yet reached the point where we see parents and kids all entertaining themselves independently in a room together.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to top