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Study Says 60-Percent of Americans Surf the Web While Watching TV

If you often find yourself chatting away on your laptop while passively watching an episode of 'Dancing with the Stars,' you're not alone. According to the latest Three Screen Report from the Nielsen Company, about 60-percent of all TV-watching Americans multi-task in front of the tube, and that figure is only growing. In the fourth quarter of 2009, the average viewer spent about 3.5 hours per month doing double duty on the Internet while watching TV, a 35-percent increase over the previous year.

The study also found that online video consumption rose by about 16-percent over the course of the year, and, most notably, that a full 44-percent of all online video consumption is done from the comfort of the workplace. While online video viewing is definitely on the rise, Nielsen argues that it's primarily used to catch up on shows that people miss on TV, and that television remains the medium of choice for video consumers. Mobile phone video usage has also risen by 57-percent since 2008, largely due to the development of the smartphone market. When compared to hours spent watching TV, though, mobile phone viewing remains far behind.

The increase in video viewing across the board shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, but the asymptotic increase in online multi-tasking in front of the TV is certainly noteworthy, and ironically, raises the question: what actually counts as "watching" video, anyway? If we spend an hour in front of the TV while browsing through YouTube clips, for example, what are we really watching? We may occasionally glance up at the TV, or bury ourselves in the computer during commercial breaks, but how much of either are we actively engaging? As the numbers tell it, TV may still be the king of video broadcasting, but, if more and more Americans continue to watch it while using their laptops, we may have to decide whether television is the headlining act, or merely background noise. [From: Nielsen, via: ArsTechnica]

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Tags: internet, internettv, internetvideo, multitasking, nielsen, smartphones, top, tv