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Distracted, but Still Watching: TiVo Survey Finds 99 Percent of Viewers Are Multitasking While Watching TV

Third Annual TiVo(R) Multitasking and Social Media TV Survey Finds TV-Related Multitasking Not Common -- Eating and Text Messaging Is Most Common

Company Release - 11/5/2015 9:00 AM ET

SAN JOSE, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 11/05/15 -- TiVo Inc., a global leader in the advanced television entertainment market, today revealed results from its Third Annual TiVo Multitasking and Social Media TV Survey. Out of the 806 respondents surveyed 99 percent admitted to multitasking while watching TV, with 53 percent multitasking every time or almost every time they watch TV. When multitasking, only 6 percent of respondents reported their activities were TV related. The most common multitasking activities included eating and sending text messages.

This isn't bad news for TV, though, since viewers said they focus primarily or exclusively on the TV screen 73 percent of the time. Respondents reported primarily paying attention to TV over another device 47 percent of the time with an additional 26 percent of time spent only watching TV and not multitasking. These figures are consistent with our 2014 survey results of 47 percent and 27 percent respectively.

"In a world where so many devices are battling to divert us, it is heartening to know that the video content on the screen is still commanding the lion's share of peoples' attention," said TiVo Chief Research Officer Jonathan Steuer. "From texts to doorbells to friends and family, distractions abound, but when it is time to watch television, respondents told us viewing was their primary focus."

Multitasking, Yes -- Television-Related Multitasking, No
As pervasive as TV multitasking is, TiVo's survey found the secondary activity rarely relates to the action on the screen. In fact, only 6 percent reported that their multitasking activity concerns the TV show every time or almost every time, and 50 percent reported it is never or almost never related to the TV program they are watching.

When asked what else they do while watching TV, top activities ranged from eating (76 percent), to shopping online (51 percent) to exercising (27 percent). Other top multitasking activities include sending text messages (69 percent) and talking on the phone (59 percent).

The Main Vice is a Device
The majority of the multitasking activities involved the use of a second screen: 53 percent of those surveyed habitually use a device every time or almost every time they watch TV, with smartphones ranking as the top device of choice at 34 percent. Laptop computers ranked second at 14 percent, followed closely by tablets at 13 percent.

Survey respondents reported various reasons for routinely operating the second screen while watching TV, including "this is just how I entertain myself these days" at 56 percent and "I can't stop myself from picking up my device" at 41 percent.

Additional Key Findings

  • Sixty-two percent of respondents report multitasking during commercial breaks every time or almost every time they watch TV.
  • Popular commercial break activities include visiting the restroom at 82 percent, and getting a drink or snack at 78 percent.
  • Only 23 percent report watching the commercials during commercial breaks; down from 29 percent in our 2014 study.
  • Commercial break activities vary for DVR and non-DVR households:
    • Surfing the Internet -- 41 percent for DVR homes and 53 percent for non-DVR
    • Checking social media sites -- 35 percent for DVR homes and 43 percent for non-DVR
    • Fast-forward through commercials -- 65 percent for DVR homes and not applicable for non-DVR homes
  • When asked which content they are more likely to multitask during, 53 percent of respondents reported live TV, 28 percent reported time-shifted TV and 19 percent reported streamed content, e.g.Netflix, Hulu.

The 2015 TiVo Multitasking and Social TV Survey was conducted online and was completed by 806 people between September 9-12, 2015. All survey participants were over the age of 18, reported watching video in the past month (on any device) and were the primary or shared decision maker when purchasing electronics in their household. The demographic composition of the survey respondents was consistent with the U.S. in terms of household income and age range. Additional details about this survey and other TiVo research are available from TiVo Research at and

About TiVo Research and Analytics, Inc.
TiVo Research and Analytics, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of TiVo Inc. (NASDAQ: TIVO), is a leading cross media research, measurement and analytics company that provides nationally representative single-source data linked to purchases made at the household level. Advertisers, agencies and television networks utilize the company's solutions to improve advertising targeting, accountability, and return on media investment. Partnerships with multi-service operators, and proprietary TiVo set-top-box data enable TiVo Research to provide research based on a representative panel of more than 2.3MM households. The web-based Media TRAnalytics® and TV Health Ratings platforms match the TV and online advertising that households actually receive with the products that the same households actually buy, enabling clients to find "The Right Audience®" while providing an unmatched level of transparency, measurement, media planning/selling, and improved ROI. More information at:

About TiVo Inc.
TiVo Inc. (NASDAQ: TIVO) is a global leader in next-generation television services. With global headquarters in San Jose, CA and offices in New York, NY, Boston, MA, Durham, NC, and Warsaw, Poland, TiVo's innovative cloud-based Software-as-a-Service solutions enable viewers to consume content across multiple screens in and out-of-the home. The TiVo solution provides an all-in-one approach for navigating the 'content chaos' by seamlessly combining live, recorded, on-demand and over-the-top television into one intuitive user interface with simple universal search, discovery, viewing and recording from a variety of devices, creating the ultimate viewing experience. TiVo products and services are available at retail or through a growing number of pay-TV operators world-wide. TiVo's multiple subsidiary companies provide the broader television industry and consumer electronics manufacturers with STB, cloud-based video discovery and recommendation options, interactive advertising solutions and audience research and measurement services. More information at:

TiVo, the TiVo logo, and the TiVo silhouette logo, Media TRAnalytics and The Right Audience are trademarks or registered trademarks of TiVo Inc. or its subsidiaries worldwide. Emmy is a trademark of the National Academy of Televisions Arts and Sciences. All other company, product and brand names and trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Source: TiVo Inc.