Net, TV Are Often Roommates

Over half of U.S. adult Internet users have a TV and PC in the same room, with half of those reporting they watch TV and use the Net simultaneously, according to research done by comScore Media Metrix.

The Internet audience measurement company found that 45.1 million adults had a TV and PC in the same room, with 47 percent saying they would use both at the same time. About half of respondents said they did not have a PC and TV in the same room.

Despite the high numbers reporting using TVs and the Internet at the same time, most are not browsing sites related to the TV programming: 74 percent said their Internet use was unrelated to the program they are watching.

“The prevailing understanding of how the Internet can interact with TV is misguided and needs to catch up to the reality revealed by the data,” said Peter Daboll, division president of comScore Media Metrix.

According to Daboll, the lessons for media companies and advertisers are many. First, it shows that the Internet can act as a complimentary advertising platform. Also, Daboll said programmers need to be aware that viewers can just as quickly turn to the Internet as they can reach for the remote, so TV programs need an online component.

While TV shows now frequently encourage viewers to go online for further information or to participate in online polls, comScore Media Metrix found that only 15 percent of respondents reported visiting sites related to the show they were watching. About 11 percent said they sent emails or instant messages about the show, while another 11 percent searched the Web for show listings.

“While the early fears of the Internet were that it would steer people away from prime-time viewing, the real threat to TV is that the Internet is steering away viewers’ attention while they are watching TV and surfing at the same time,” Daboll said.

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