How Tablets — Not Phones — Have Taken Over The Lives Of TV Viewers

As more and more mobile devices proliferate the market, you might start noticing more iPhones or tablets in the lap of someone watching TV than bowls of popcorn.

According to a new Nielsen report, 40 per cent of Americans use their smartphones or tablets while watching TV at least once a day. Almost 80 per cent use a second screen at least once a month.

But even though smartphone penetration has reached more than 50 per cent and tablets are only in 20 per cent of homes, 41 per cent of tablet owners use their devices at least once a day while watching TV — which is 2 per cent more than Americans who own and simultaneously use their smartphones.

This is huge news for advertisers trying to create second screen television experiences to mobile devices, especially considering that tablet penetration is only going up.

But there are a few important details they should know about the tablet audience.

First off, as shown in the graphic below (click to enlarge), simultaneous TV and tablet users skew slightly older.

nielsen tv tablet smartphone

Photo: Nielsen Connected Devices Study Q2 2012

Smartphone and tablet users are also doing different things with their devices when they watch. For example, 36 per cent of people aged 35-54, and 44 per cent of people aged 55-64, look up more information about the shows they are watching on their tablets. Smartphone users are primarily checking social media sites.

nielsen tv tablet smartphone

Photo: Nielsen Connected Devices Study Q2 2012

While more women than men use their smartphones while watching TV, the gender divide is even for tablets.

nielsen tv tablet smartphone

Photo: Nielsen Connected Devices Study Q2 2012

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