Study: TV Viewers Prefer Not to Multitask

4:00 AM PST 01/23/2014 by Paul Bond
Screengrab/HBO
"Game of Thrones"

TiVo says 76 percent of TV viewers like to focus on what they are watching rather than on social media and other distractions.

Good news for the television industry: Even with smartphones, the Internet, Twitter and other distractions, TV viewers overwhelmingly prefer to focus on the shows they are tuned in to rather than multitask.

Those findings and more are courtesy of a new study from TiVo that the DVR pioneer is set to release Thursday.

While viewers report having multitasked at least once during TV-watching, 76 percent say they like it best when "their primary focus is actually watching what's on TV," according to TiVo.

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When they do multitask during TV-viewing, though, surfing the Internet is their primary activity, followed by cooking then chatting online.

TiVo also says that while a lot of people use the Internet to research a show, just 27 percent of them will do so while watching TV and the rest will wait until later -- with 14 percent saying they'll hit the Internet immediately after the show ends and 32 percent saying they'll do so within a week.

The survey also found that viewers are largely uninterested in online discussions about the shows they watch. Most of the survey was split between TiVo users and non-TiVo users, and 55 percent of the latter agreed with the statement: "I only want to discuss TV with people I know, not with Internet strangers."

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The survey also found that 68 percent of the TiVo users notice when a TV show promotes a Twitter hashtag, but 63 percent of them said they do not like seeing them during a show while only 3 percent said they like them.

TiVo also explored what it calls the Game of Thrones Factor, whereby shows "practically demand viewers' full attention due to complex plot twists or dialogue," and 73 percent of those surveyed agreed with the statement: "There are certain shows that are so important to me or so tricky to follow, I make sure not to do other things while I am watching them."

TiVo surveyed 1,660 households from Oct. 16 to Nov. 7, with 40 percent of them being TiVo subscribers. Twelve percent were recruited from social media sites; all participants were over 18 and watched at least seven hours of TV per week.

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