TV Watching and Net Surfing Go Together

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It’s one of those lifestyle trends that’s been spoken about for years, but research firm The Nielsen Company is putting some numbers behind the idea. According to the company’s new TV/Internet Convergence Panel, the heaviest Internet users are also amongst the heaviest television viewers, and that over 31 percent of in-home online activity takes place while the user is watching television.

“It is too early to draw any firm conclusions about behavior,” said Nielsen’s senior VP for client insights, in a statement, “but the early trends seem to indicate that online usage is complementing, not substituting for, traditional television viewing. We will be watching this trend carefully to see how television viewing drives Internet usage and visa versa.”

The study found the top fifth of Internet users spend more than 250 minutes a day watching television, while folks who don’t use the Internet at all watched 220 minutes of television a day. The study also found that low levels of television viewing correspond to low levels of online use. Overall, nearly 60 percent of all panelists and more than 80 percent of the television watchers in the panels reported they watched television and used the Internet at the same time during the month.

Nielsen also found that about half the panel had viewed streaming online content, with some 82 percent of teen girls having streamed content, followed by 64 percent of teen boys, 57 percent of me aged 18 to 34, and 55 percent of men aged 35 to 55. teens were the most likely to surf the Internet while watching television, but adults aged 35 to 54 racked up the most minutes of simultaneous usage.

The panel’s sample consists of over 3,000 people in more than 1,000 United States homes.

[Just as a note: 220 minutes of television a day is over three and a half hours. No, we have absolutely no idea where people find time to watch three and a half hours of television a day.]