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More media multi-tasking: Time spent watching TV and simultaneously surfing the Web up 35% in 2009

March 22, 2010 |  2:57 pm

TV Internet Nerding Seems there just aren't enough minutes in a day.

The amount of time viewers spent watching TV while at the same time cruising the Internet grew 34.5% last year to an average of 3.5 hours a month in 2009, up from 2.5 hours in 2008, according to a Nielsen Co. report released Monday.

The report seems to suggest that concerns by TV executives that the Internet was taking people away from their shows are unfounded. In fact, live TV viewing increased 1% in 2009. Add in time-shifted viewing a la TiVo, and the average number of hours jumped to a total of 163 hours a month watching TV in 2009, up from 160 hours in 2008.

Meanwhile, the amount of time viewers in Nielsen's panel who did both at the same time soared 35%, according to Nielsen's "Three Screen Report."

What are they doing? A look the top 5 sites visited by these media multi-taskers gives some clues:

  1. Google
  2. Yahoo
  3. Facebook
  4. MSN or Microsoft Bing
  5. YouTube.

"You have people looking up stuff while they watch TV," said Gary Holmes, a Nielsen spokesman. "People are also doing a lot of social networking. People like to watch TV together. With Facebook as the No. 3 site, it suggests that people are chatting and sharing observations as they watch. You see it all the time with sporting events, too."

Anyone interested in coming over to our Facebook page and watching some NCAA March Madness on Thursday?

-- Alex Pham

Photo Credit: Mr. Thomas via Flickr.