Nielsen: Media Multitasking Catches On

People are watching more TV than ever and using the Internet more than ever before. So how do they find the time? Mainly by doing both at the same time, according to new research from Nielsen. In its latest Three Screen Report, Nielsen found that 59 percent of consumers watched TV while simultaneously surfing the Internet, up from 57.9 percent in December 2008. The amount of time they spend doing also increased dramatically; on average, Americans spent three and a half hours on the Internet while also watching TV in December 2009, up from two hours and 36 minutes just a year before.

In December, the average American watched an average of 35 hours of live TV per week, with an additional two hours of timeshifted TV, Nielsen reports. The amount of television people watch is up about two percent from the year before, but DVR usage is up about 28 percent. In addition, Americans spent about four hours of their week on the Internet, including watching 22 minutes of online video and four minutes of mobile video.

The amount of online video consumers are viewing has grown 16 percent year-over-year, and it appears that much of that viewing is happening while people are at work. Approximately 44 percent of all online video viewing is happening in the workplace, according to Nielsen, a stat that probably won’t be too surprising for those who follow events like March Madness on Demand, which has been made available live online by CBS Sports. CBS saw a huge spike in traffic during the first day of the tournament in the hour after 2 PM EST, during which it delivered 533,000 streaming hours of video for the full hour.

While the amount of time Americans spent viewing mobile video remained flat, the number of users that watched mobile video increased dramatically. With an increase in the number of smartphones on the market and in user’s hands, the number of consumers watching mobile video increased 57 percent year-over-year, from 11.2 million to 17.6 million.

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