Multitasking Taking Center Stage

The simultaneous use of PCs and television sets grew by 1.8 million households over the last six months, evidence of an increase in consumer multitasking according to Media Metrix.

Over half of all PC households (52 percent or 19 million households) now have a television set and computer in the same room, according to the 1999 HardScan Volume I Report by Media Metrix. In addition, simultaneous use of TVs and PCs located in the same room has grown from 16.4 million households to 18.1 million households over the last six months.

“With technology convergence less than imminent, our data show a clear pattern of rapid growth in user multitasking on the PC and TV,” said Bruce Ryon, Senior VP and Chief Technology analyst of Media Metrix.

The report reveals that only 2 percent of consumer PCs are capable of presenting live television programming on the computer screen via PCTV cards. However, the data also show that consumers are using the two appliances independently, yet simultaneously.

“One hand may hold the remote control, while the other is clicking through family finances, checking email or surfing the Web between television programs,” Ryon added.

According to the report 19 million households with PCs have their PCs and a television set in the same room. Of those, nearly all (18.1 million ) report having the television turned on at the same time that the PC is in use.

Television and PCs in the Same Room in US
Mar-99 Sep-98 Growth
(millions of households)
Millions of US Households Owning PCs 36.6 35.0 1.6
TV in Same Room as PC 19.0 17.3 1.7
TV in use “Some or All of the Time” in Same Room as PC 18.1 16.4 1.7
Source: Media Metrix

The Media Metrix HardScan Report reflects the ownership and usage of PCs in a continuous panel of 10,000 demographically balanced US consumer households.

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