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back to article Survey: Most TV viewers surf while they watch

A shade under three-quarters of TV viewers with broadband are surfing the web while they watch, with 38 per cent of them discussing what they're watching on social media. The figures come from Ovum, and are based on 8,000 survey respondents across eight countries. They show that more than half of TV viewers are checking details …

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Anonymous Coward

Not even surfing in the ads

My wife rarely watches the tv, just listens to programs while watching the "second screen", glancing up only every now and then.

It's like radio is making a come-back.

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Radio with occasional pictures...

I know exactly what you mean. So much of what appears on TV these days (especially what passes as "documentary") has images simply because, well, it's TV, you've got to have pictures, but they don't actually *add* anything to what you're hearing.

Oh, BTW, I'm writing this reply whilst "watching" (or listening to) Mock the Week on Sky+ :-)

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oh god no

does this mean that tv programmes will do even more summarys? i detest shows that show you what happened 5 mins ago.

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Unhappy

This would explain all those programmes

which seem to consist of nothing other than an endless cycle of "Coming up..." and brief recaps.

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Anonymous Coward

Like the US?

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How else would you get 2 hours programming from 15 mins of material?

Pad it out for an hour with the recaps, then repeat it a year later as a "revisited" series which is actually the same programme with a 2 minute update at the end.

Infuriating.

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Trollface

Ah yes Summaries and Coming-Up secions. Brilliantly parodied by Mitchell and Webb:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MFtl2XXnUc

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75% ?

That seems massively high! Was the question not "have you EVER surfed the web while watching TV?" in which case I can believe it. If, as it implies, it is that three-quarters of every TV audience are also surfing the web then I personally know virtually all the ones that don't!

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The question was asked online..? Either that or the people I know or Germans in general are rather retarded.

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Anonymous Coward

I confess ...

I'm very guilty of this habit myself and I hate it.

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Anonymous Coward

Ads

Whenever the ads come on, I press the mute button and play a game on my phone while I wait for them to end...

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Anonymous Coward

I do this too...

..but mainly because my wife watches utter dross like X factor.

I suppose I could buy my own tellie...but instead I like to read the news etc and to exact my revenge, by occasionally looking up from my tablet at random intervals to ask pointless questions like "who's that guy?", "isn't he having an affair?" all the way through deadenders/corrie/<insert soap here>

AC, because she reads this, and might suss out my strategy...

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Isnt it more of a case that blokes surf and turn on the TV to drown out the sound of the wife?

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Adverts?

Haven't watched an advert in 5 years since we bought our Humax PVR.

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The wonders of DVR

I surf whilst watching too - but that doesn't make me miss the adverts because I never watch them!

Thanks to Windows Media Center, I record almost everything I watch - even if I'm going to watch it that night. As long as I start watching 10 minutes after the programme actualy starts, I step forward through all the adverts (9 x 30 second jumps for the "average" UK ad break).

And, of course, if I want to look up something prompted by the programme, I hit pause.

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Perhaps

People that are surfing and watching TV need to go and do something useful. It is clear that neither activity really holds attention properly.

I find that TV these days is so mind numbingly boring that I've chucked the box in the bin - I haven't seen a program worth watching for several years, most of it seems aimed at people with a mental age of 6 months and written by people with an age of 7 months. The same can be said of radio.

As for online, there really is little of interest online either - job searches, a watered down news aimed at 6 week olds (at least that seems the situation from the BBC website these days) and of course the flesh toned websites which while fun are so obviously fake in most cases that its really not worth the effort any more.

Getting out doing a hobby, makng something, even just getting to a gym and swapping some beer gut for muscles are all far more useful ways of passing your limited time on earth.

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Nowt On TV?

Of course you "haven't seen a programme worth watching for several years". You already told us that you chucked the box in the bin.

Are you really saying that David Attenborough's "Life" (especially in HD) isn't worth watching? Or Curb Your Enthusiasm?

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Anonymous Coward

I agree wholeheartedly with your pedantry - but.....

.... Curb Your Enthusiam? A reason to own a TV? Terry and June plus swearing and sex?

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Re: Nowt on TV

That probably depends on your age. If you can remember "Life on Earth", probably all of Attenborough's subsequent work strikes you as a succession of sequels, HD or not. Good sequels, perhaps, but still missable. The same probably goes for most sitcoms. In fact, it is probably asking too much of the entertainment industry to manage more than a couple of decades of novelty. Therefore, *everyone* with a functioning memory eventually decides that "there's nothing on".

It is probably *also* true that you could have watched TV for several years a generation ago and not have found anything worth watching. The dross has always been with us.

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Happy

"I'm not an elitist," Green said. "It's just that I'd much rather sculpt or write in my journal or read Proust than sit there passively staring at some phosphorescent screen."

http://www.theonion.com/articles/area-man-constantly-mentioning-he-doesnt-own-a-tel,429/

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Anonymous Coward

TV drama plots labeled too complicated

"three-quarters of TV viewers with broadband are surfing the web while they watch"

No wonder so many adults moan that they can't follow anything but the most brain dead of drama plots these days.

When people with degrees simply can't get their head around an episode of Doctor Who (a bloody kids show!) yet don't seem to have problems following the ongoings of Eastenders even when they've missed an episode, you know the problem simply cannot be the show itself, but the viewers.

People text messaging throughout a programme, surfing, using picture-in-picture and other distractions, then moaning that they can't follow the plot are like spoilt kids eating all the sweets and ice cream in the house and them running to mummy in tears because they feel sick.

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head around an episode of Doctor Who

With the current series, I strongly suspect that the main plot arc wouldn't bear *too* much scrutiny from a logician. I'm deliberately not "getting my head around" it because I think I'd find too many holes and that would spoil the fun. It is a (big) kids program after all. It would be a shame to nit-pick.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: head around an episode of Doctor Who

I'm talking about adults not getting their head around basic stuff such as "but how can River be Amy's daughter if Amy is younger than River?" or "but how can the Doctor be in the diner if he was just shot dead on the beach?"

I suspect the reason many people couldn't understand why a 900 year old time travelling Doctor appeared at a diner *after* an 1100 year old Doctor was just shot dead on a beach is because the moment the shots were fired, the viewer stopped watching the show in order to post and read "OMG!!!!! WTF???" comments on multiple internet message boards and their SMS contacts.

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Too deep

thing is that frankly after a day you want to relax, not get wound up into something deep to go to bed on.

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about right..

I can only think of a handful of TV shows I'll watch completely. The more interuptions from adverts, the less engrossed I am so during the show I'm likely to have my mind wander.

I'd say the only things which get my full attention are stuff on the beeb and things that are sky plussed (with the ads fast forwarded)..

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Re: Adverts?

Yep -- Humax with me too. Plus mute for live TV, and AdBlock Plus for the web.

My habit tends to be:

turn telly on

get bored very quickly

mute it while browsing

noticed I've not watched it while browsing

turn telly off again

continue browsing

Well, there's just so much more on line.

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Mushroom

My habits seem to be becoming:

Turn Tv on

Begin watching

Go to kitchen to get drink

Get distracted, do some washing up

Start playing on computer

Girlfriend gets home, gets confused and asks why the cats are watching star trek

(Icon for my shameful waste of leccy)

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Anonymous Coward

I stopped having TV wallpaper ...

For that very reason. I found that I watched a hell of lot less TV. Helps cut the kWhs too.

Sometimes I surf/post* while watching we're watching a film. Especially common to search imdb for information about the actors.

* There're so many people wrong on the Internet.

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Re: There're so many people wrong on the Internet.

Well, of course! Apart from you, they're *all* wrong. Including me.

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Big Brother

Ondemand

I cant remember seeing many adverts on the on-demand services from ITV, C4, C5. You sometimes get a preview of some other show, or sponsor before they play the programme, but this doesn't bother me, its like DVD adverts.

Also aren't most on-demand portals set-up with all the "Social Media" fancy bits, to point you at where to Thumb up or share you viewing habits?

BB obviously...

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Seems reasonable. I'll admit to it. Mind you even when I am giving my full attention to the TV I'm always ready to leap for the remote as soon as a I detect an ad-break. The advantage of time shifting everything is that there's always a fast-forward :)

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Anonymous Coward

Adverts?

As rarely watch "real time" nowadays adverts tend to be 8 presses of the TiVo 30sec skip button and they're sorted!

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Not here...

My other half would skin me or her kids alive, if we tried to surf while she was watching TV! :-D

We rarely watch ads though, as soon as one programme goes into commercial, they start channel hopping until they find something that isn't currentl in commercial...

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Facepalm

How to escape the tailspin

"television shows have to become steadily more repetitive to appeal to an audience whose attention is largely elsewhere"

Why not try make TV shows that are so entertaining, you don't want to be distracted by a second screen?

Or maybe cut down on the number and length of advert breaks? Marketing budgets are a finite size. Devoting an ever greater proportion of airtime to advertising only floods the market and spreads a fixed revenue stream ever thinner. Ration the amount advertising space and it becomes a sellers market. It might even price the annoying ambulance chasers, loan sharks and comparison sites off the air!

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TV

Add TV adverts to the list of things that the Internet killed (along with libraries, honest pub-quizzes, and a lot of disinformation).

The current home TV environment provides the viewer with complete control over what they watch. If I watch TV, it's either a scheduled program that I *only* turn on for, something downloaded from iPlayer etc. or a DVD that I have in front of me. Rarely do I just sit and aimlessly watch TV like we did as kids when we only had 4 channels.

Even my daughter knows this when she sees my laptop - "Daddy, put Timmy Time on." There's no question of *waiting* for it to come on (my girl isn't impatient, but why would you say she has to wait until 3:00pm when she could just watch it now and she's not watching too much?), and we'll almost certainly find exactly what she wants rather than something else that she's not really interested in, even if I have to go to YouTube or put in a DVD.

Back when people *didn't* have pay-for TV, vast personal libraries, hundreds of channels, on-demand TV over the Internet, on-demand TV over their... well, TV, etc. then you could dictate how much advertising they must sit through in order to enjoy it. Now? We have the choice so we'll even skip the adverts on the DVD, thanks.

Hint: I am not going to spend £40+ a month in order to watch what *you* want me to. Cheers, thanks, bye.

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Yeah, so?

Most of the time when I'm watching my "second screen" and only occasionally watching what's on TV, it's because I really just want to sit on my couch to browse the web, instead of sitting in my chair and feeling like I'm back at the office. It just seems wrong to be sitting on the couch in front of the TV without it actually being on (not that I haven't done that either).

When I am actually watching TV, the laptop only comes out during the adverts.

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If I were president...

I'd ask/tell to broadcasters to transmit a little metadata stream indicating if the broadcast was content or advert (not so east to distinguish sometimes I know) Then your Tivo type thing could pause recording, or if watching live it would switch to a nice calming equivalent of the potters wheel and then switch back again - Sounds lovely and I might actually start watching TV again.

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@Stuart 1

In your world, you would end up with no ad-funded commercial television.

This may not appear such a bad thing until you see what public-funded TV is actually like in most countries, and also how expensive pay-TV would become if it had to be funded completely from the subscription.

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Megaphone

Got into the habit of muting Ad breaks because of the intrusive volume increase, so trying to ram it down our earholes has proven counter productive.... I surf in ad breaks of the few shows I watch.. with the mute on..

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Ad blocking

Funny you say about the volumme but it might be counter productive. If you use a computer as a PVR then just program a noise limiter in that cuts out the sound for a few minutes, or even swops to music until a change of advert or signal sense.

That is one of the reasons I am turning my old computer into a PVR.

Wont advertisers and stations that ramp up sound like that. Its easy to do to old TV,s just put a small audio limiter in the speaker wires.

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Cause and effect

You should not be too quick to conclude that the repetitive nature of modern TV shows is a consequence of inattentive viewers. You could as well argue that inattentive viewers are a consequence of repetitive TV shows that do not require the full attention of the viewer.

As for TV ads, people have used the ad breaks for other things as long as they have existed: Going to the loo, fetching drinks and snacks, reading the paper, doing crosswords and all sorts of other things. Surfing the web is just one more thing to do while ignoring the ads. The main difference is that people are more likely to continue doing this after the ad break ends. But the blame for that can only be laid on the TV content producers: If it was interesting enough to watch, people would stop surfing when the show starts again.

Another problem is that ad breaks are too long. If they were shorter, people would be less likely to find something else to do while waiting for the ad breaks to end. The ad producers can also help: If ads are more entertaining, people wouldn't mind so much seeing them. And ads can be entertaining. Otherwise, we would not have TV shows like "commercial breakdown". And maybe it is time to move the ads away from the TV media. Newspapers these days have far fewer ads than they did earlier, because ads have moved to other media, mostly the Internet. Most newspaper publishers have accepted this and moved a lot of their ads to their online news services. TV companies can do that too: Make interesting web sites that supplement the TV channels and host most of the ads.

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Joke

Ssssh, don't tell them we are not looking!

These advertising fools subsidise our TV :)

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Stop

blip ad's?

if they are that concerned about people not paying attention to ad's why not change them around a little. in the UK its a single ad break which means you can go off and do things, browse etc. the US has 2-3 but they are all at roughtly the same time. Why not break them up and move them around a bit?

So taking soap opera dross where there are lots of scene changes you could have

3 mins dross

30 second break

scene change into pub (7 min scene)

1 min break

2 min scene

30 second break etc

people won't know when they are coming and will have to watch as they won't know the length for when its back on (excluding DVR's etc as they make ads a moot point anyway).

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Unhappy

If- I watched that crap,

and they started that crap; then, like MASH with a 'laughter' track, I'd stop watching.

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Less adverts, more visibility

With a 5 minute advert break, you can guarantee that most of the viewers will not be watching beyond the tenth second.

Cut down the breaks to a minute, and most people will stick around.

What's worth more to advertisers? Five minutes of adverts that will not be seen beyond the tenth second, or one minute of adverts that will probably be seen by most?

Chances are that the advertisers wouldn't have to pay 5 times as much for their adverts either. If all the faces that appear were paid 20% of what they presently get, most of them would *still* be overpaid relative to their true contribution to the world at large.

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audio seems more important than video for many programmes

I've noticed for a long time now that most TV is 'radio with pictures', it just doesn't *need* to be watched continuously, the audio tells the 'story' with just occasional reinforcing dips into watching. For many formats it might as well be radio and I won't comment on what that says about programme quality - though a horror film you only watch 1/3rd off is obviously dire!

The upside of that is, adverts work pretty much the same way, hearing the ad is almost as good as seeing it. Ad revenue isn't challenged by this, if anything split attention should increase the time it takes to react to adbreaks and skip through them, increasing the chance they'll be experienced at all. And we already have the solution to advert dodgers, sponsorship of the break lead in/out, the signal we look for before hitting the skip button!

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Pint

Advertisers can take some comfort...

As I press the 'Skip' (~29.5s) button on my PVR, if I happen to catch a glimpse of an advertisement that might interest me, then I may backtrack and actually watch it. Although I avoid ads, I don't think that I miss very many (for example) VW, Meredes, Apple ads - because I like to see those ones. If I always skip an ad, it's because I'm really not interested anyway.

It surprisingly easy to detect interesting vice uninteresting ads in the one second it takes to skip each one.

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Look - over there...

...it's a catonkey !

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Isn't it funny

I only hope that certain people read these posts. I was emailing the head of the football channel, you know, the one that has corrie on at various times, about stopping the bill. Well now with so many repeats on repeats I might as get my old VCR out and watch that. Oh hang on they are better because the repeats they show now were rubbish in the first place. Give me "get some in" or "Fresh fields"

The problem showing cr4p is that when you do go to the computer then you do not go back to the TV.

Wake up TV broadcasters.

I am turning an old XP computer into a good PVR, luverly, no adverts, if rubbish comes on we can run an old series.

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