When viewers watch a TV program with a tablet device, they tend to check their email, hunt for sports scores or seek additional information about the show or a commercial they were watching on the big screen.
A new report by Nielsen Co., released Friday, underscores what network television researchers have been preaching for more than a year: that "second screen viewing" appears to augment the TV viewing experience rather than steal away viewers.
Nielsen's State of the Media: Advertising & Audiences report found that men, when watching TV and using a tablet simultaneously, were more likely than women to look for information related to a TV program they were watching (39% versus 34%). Women were more inclined to seek information related to a television commercial (24% versus 21%).
Not surprisingly, teenagers with tablets were far more apt to visit a social media site while watching TV than were older baby boomers and seniors (62% versus 33%).
The report also found cultural differences in TV watching and the use of digital video recorders. Nielsen said that white TV viewers use digital video recorders on a daily basis twice as much as any other group, while Asian Americans appear to spend a higher proportion of their overall TV time watching their previously recorded programs.
Adults age 25 to 54 appear to be heavily influenced by advertising. Nielsen said that demographic group was 23% more likely than the average U.S. Internet user to follow a brand through social networking sites, and 29% more likely to purchase a product online that had been featured on TV.
Finally, teenagers used a game console for eight minutes a night, on average -- more than twice as much as the general TV population.
-- Meg James
Photo: Klarysa Clark, a teenager from Eagle Rock, checks out a 3-D television at the Atwater Village Best Buy in Los Angeles in June 2010. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times