Parrot Study: Majority of Viewers Multitask While Watching TV

While 13% of Americans report that they do nothing else while watching TV, completely undistracted viewers are a minority, according to a study from Parrot Analytics.

The study surveyed 500 Americans, asking the question: “While watching TV shows, what other activities are you commonly doing as well?” The content of each answer to this open-ended question was assigned to the best-fitting category or categories.

Using tech devices was by far the largest category of activities done while watching TV, with 26.8% of responses involving a phone, tablet or computer, according to the study. The second most common activity was eating a meal at 13.8%. Other findings include:

  • 12.7% read while watching TV, with those that specified material mentioning newspapers, novels and magazines in that order;
  • 8.9% did household chores, such as cooking, cleaning or folding laundry, while watching TV;
  • 6.3% worked or studied while watching TV show;
  • 6% did arts, crafts and puzzles while watching TV, including sketching, painting and crosswords, with the most common such activity being sewing, knitting or crocheting;
  • 3.2% said that while they may start watching a show, they end up sleeping instead;
  • and 3.2% said they watch TV while doing a physical activity such as working out.

Finally, 6% answered with something that didn’t fit into one of the above categories. The “other” category included respondents who said they use their TV time to bond with their family and a handful who said they like to watch a second TV show while watching TV.

Of the 26.8% of respondents who answered that they use a tech device while watching television, about a quarter (26.6%) said that they were primarily using it to check social media or emails while watching television. The most common social media site mentioned was Facebook, followed by Snapchat and Twitter. The same percentage of respondents answered that they were browsing the Internet while watching TV. Uses mentioned included online shopping and looking up details about the show being watched. Among device users, 21% said they played a game while watching TV.

For more information, contact Parrot here.

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