Tuesday, March 23, 2010

60% of Americans engaging in couch potato multitasking

Many of us just spent several hours on Sunday night watching the healthcare bill debate on CSPAN while simultaneously chatting, making forum posts, or Tweeting about it. We may be used to it, but that behavior is no longer reserved for us nerds. According to the latest Three Screen report (PDF) out of Nielsen, Americans in general now spend 35 percent more time using the Internet and TV at the same time than a year prior.

That translates to about 3.5 hours of overlapping TV/Internet time per month for the average American consumer, according to Nielsen's data from the fourth quarter of 2009. Nearly 59 percent of consumers reported doing this at least once a month as well, up from 57.5 percent in 2008. That's a lot of people spreading their attention across multiple screens, which is why so many shows are beginning to advertise live online polls, chats, and more during the course of broadcast. People aren't just hitting up those websites after the show is over—they're hitting them up as the show is going on.

These numbers don't count those who are watching TV on the Internet itself, though. Online video consumption is up 16 percent year over year, with close to half (44 percent) of all online video being consumed at the workplace. Shh, don't tell your boss (who is probably watching The Colbert Report right now anyway).

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