Market Research

TiVo Research: 99 per cent of people multitask while watching TV

By Adam Flomenbaum | Co-Executive Editor

November 9, 2015 | 4 min read

Between free data and a new partnership with Viacom, TiVo research is keeping itself busy.

But the team was not too busy to release their third annual multitasking and social media TV survey late last week.

The results are pretty incredible: of the 806 respondents surveyed, 99 per cent said that they multitask while watching TV, with 53 per cent multitasking every time or almost every time they watch.

There’s a reason second screen apps – especially check-in ones – never really took off: only 6 per cent of respondents said that their multitasking activities were TV related. (Twitter, however, would say that these people are power influencers and worth it for brands and networks to pay attention to).

Still, viewers said that they focus only on the TV screen 73 per cent of the time and they also said that 26 per cent of the time they are only watching TV and not multitasking at all.

“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.”

Additional Key Findings:

· Top TV multitasking activities include: eating (76 per cent), texting (69 per cent), talking on the phone (59 per cent), shopping online (51 per cent), and exercising (27 per cent).

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· Second screen usage: 53 per cent surveyed use a second screen device while watching TV. Leading the charge is smartphones, followed by laptops and tablets.

· Sixty-two per cent 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 per cent, and getting a drink or snack at 78 per cent.

· Only 23 per cent report watching the commercials during commercial breaks; down from 29 per cent in our 2014 study.

· Commercial break activities vary for DVR and non-DVR households:

o Surfing the Internet – 41 per cent for DVR homes and 53 per cent for non-DVR

o Checking social media sites – 35 per cent for DVR homes and 43 per cent for non-DVR

o Fast-forward through commercials – 65 per cent for DVR homes and not applicable for non-DVR homes

· When asked which content they are more likely to multitask during, 53 per cent of respondents reported live TV, 28 per cent reported time-shifted TV and 19 per cent reported streamed content, e.g. Netflix, Hulu.

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