More People Multitasking While Watching TV

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More people are watching TV on their own terms -- which often means with a tablet in hand. Also, more families are 'zero TV households.'

Setting aside time for network-scheduled TV is becoming rarer, and more people are playing with computers while they watch, according to a new survey from Accenture.

The survey had 3,501 participants from six countries including the U.S., according to Reuters. Ninety percent of them said they watch some content online, and regardless of how people watch, many do something else simultaneously.

Seventy-seven percent of participants claimed to use their computers while watching TV, up 16 percentage points from last year’s survey. Tablet use saw a bigger jump: 44 percent play around with those second screens while a show is on, up from 11 percent last year. More people are also using tablets to watch programs.

An increasing number of people no longer have TVs at all, and watch shows exclusively online. That number is about 5 million now, up from about 2 million in 2007, The Associated Press reports. Last month, Nielsen began calling them “zero TV households.”

The impact of this group is clear from the number of new cable subscriptions last year — 46,000 across all providers, while 974,000 new households were created. As one woman told the AP, “I don’t want someone else dictating the media I get every day. I want to be in charge of it.”

For the growing number of people with that mindset, there’s little point in paying someone else to be in charge of what they can watch, and when. Especially when there’s so much you can get for free online.

Stacy Johnson

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