Adults Often Online When Watching TV

March 6, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Europe & Middle East | Media & Entertainment | Paid Search | Television | Youth & Gen X

Media multitasking and “double-dipping” – watching TV while surfing the internet – are common among online adults in the United States and Britain, finds a survey by Harris Interactive conducted on behalf of online video search engine Blinkx.
Below, findings from the study.


Television should not fear that online video will steal away viewers, because it’s not an either/or proposition. That is, people use the web as an accompaniment to TV:

  • 78% of US online adults have gone online while watching TV.
  • 35% report doing so often or always.


Double-dippers are adults who enjoy surfing the internet while watching television:

  • 62% look for content unrelated to what they’re watching.
  • 25% seek information specific to that programming, such as…
    • Profiles of actors (51% look for such info)
    • Products/services that appeared in or were advertised during the program (40%)
    • Related upcoming events (39%)

Talkers vs. Typers

TV viewers respond in two ways to TV content:

  • “Talkers” prefer to discuss with others face-to-face (with coworkers, friends or family) and tends to be older – those age 35-44, 60% of whom are “talkers.”
  • “Typers” go online and tend to be younger (16-24):
    • 17% interact with others.
    • 24% read coverage or reviews of TV content online.

That’s “similar to double-dipper behavior,” said Suranga Chandratillake, founder and CEO of blinkx. “[I]t’s not necessarily a question of either/or. Some individuals enjoy the act of face-to-face conversation about television content; others interact heavily online and value the sounding board provided by the web community.”

“The fact that ‘typers’ skew younger is an indicator to the advertising community as to how and when to allocate online spend as an adjunct to TV viewership.”

Other Findings

  • Some 13% of online adults typically watch user-generated content – but nearly twice as many (25%) watch full-length television shows, movies, or sporting events.
  • Consumers – in nearly equal proportions – use either search engines to find web content or go directly to the websites of the content owners.

About the survey: Harris Interactive fielded the online survey on behalf of blinkx Feb. 13-18, 2008 among nationwide cross-sections of 2,471 adults age 18+ in the United States and 2,228 adults aged 16+ in Great Britain. Both sets of data were weighted to be representative of the population of online adults in each country.

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