September 16, 2012

With tablet ownership on the rise, internet users are turning to the big-small screen for a variety of content activities, not least of which is watching video content.

But even if their tablets are the latest device for TV watching, they seem not to make much difference in traditional TV-viewing habits for most owners. About half of tablet TV viewers of all ages told market researcher The Diffusion Group they were watching the same amount of regular TV as before. Respondents under 50 were likely to say they watched more regular TV after getting a tablet—about two in five indicated this, to varying degrees. For older users, approximately the same percentage of viewers said they were watching more TV as the percentage who said they were watching less.

August research from Altman Vilandrie found that younger tablet owners were most likely to use the devices to watch TV, with more than half of owners under 35 doing so at least weekly, vs. 19% of those 55 and older. In combination with The Diffusion Group’s research, this suggests that, if anything, traditional TV time may increase hand in hand with tablet usage and tablet TV viewing.

Tablets also contribute to TV viewing in another way: by giving consumers more ways to multitask while they watch. GfK MRI found that posting to social media about the show being watched was the most popular activity among tablet-TV multitaskers, followed by looking up information about advertised products, which came in at a respectable 28% of respondents.

Overall, GfK MRI reported, 63% of tablet owners multitasked with their devices while watching TV in the week before being polled.

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