Second screen usage becoming the norm

Watching TV while using a tablet or smartphone is more common than not according to a Q4 2011 Nielsen survey of connected device owners in the US, UK, Germany and Italy.

In the US, 88% of tablet owners and 86% of smartphone owners said they used their device while watching TV at least once during a 30-day period. For 45% of tablet tapping Americans, using their device while watching TV was a daily event, with 26% noting simultaneous TV and tablet use several times a day.

US smartphone owners showed similar dual usage of TV with their phones, with 41% saying their use their phone at least once a day while tuned in.

Device owners in the UK also logged heavy usage for tablets (80%) and smartphones (78%) while watching TV. British daily usage of smartphones or tablets while watching TV rivaled that of the US. Nearly a quarter (24%) of those surveyed claiming to use their device several times a day while watching TV.

Italians and Germans were the least likely to use a device while watching TV. In both countries, 29% of users said they never use a tablet and TV together and 34% of Italians and 35% of Germans said they don’t use their smartphone while watching TV.

The most frequent tablet or smartphone activity across all countries while also watching TV was checking email; either during a commercial break or during the show.

Yet device owners also seem to engage with content related to the TV as well, either by looking up information related to the show or looking for deals and general information on products advertised on TV.