The couch potatoes of the 21st century are more engaged and interactive thanks to smart phone technology. Viewers are no longer satisfied stare blankly at the screen ahead, preferring to simultaneously watch television while surfing the web and interact with others via text or social media.
A recent survey from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project showed that more than half of adult cell phone owners used their phones to text, tweet, or talk about their television-viewing experience. Real-time social media comments virtually eliminates the need for next-day TV show water cooler chat.
Of the 88% of cell users polled, the following multi-screen activities were included:
- 38% use the phone during commercial breaks
- 22% use mobile web on their phone to verify something they saw on television
- 6% text or call to vote for a reality show
- 20% visit a website mentioned on television
- 11% see what other people are saying on social media about a show they are watching
- 11% post comments on social media about a show they are watching
- 23% exchange text messages to discuss a show they are watching
Unsurprisingly, young adults are more apt to use mobile technology in tandem with television viewing, with 81% of mobile owners ages 18-24 reported using their cell phones during televised programming. The survey also indicated that households earning more than $50,000 and those who were college educated were likely to be connected viewers. African American and urban residents were more likely to mobile multitask while watching television than Caucasian mobile users or residents of rural areas.
Follow Elise Rambaud Marrion on Twitter @emarrion_cmn.