Can the Tablet Save Television?

Television content providers and advertisers have new data to help them shape strategies to target the growing number of simultaneous TV watchers and tablet users. Earlier this month, Nielsen reported that almost 90 percent of tablet owners used their smart devices while watching television programs. Forty-five percent did so at least once every day, and 25 percent said the frequency was as high as several times a day.

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On Friday, the research company broke into the demographics of it, finding that women were more likely to use their tablet to look up information related to an advertisement they saw on TV, while men were searching for general information related to the program they were watching. Checking email remained the most popular simultaneous activity for both sexes. Women were also more likely to be browsing social network websites at the same time as watching TV, while men were checking browsing social networks and checking sports scores equally frequently.

The survey also found that teenagers used a game console for eight minutes a night, on average, during prime-time television viewing. It also found that adults aged 25-54 were 23 percent more likely than the average U.S. Internet user to follow a brand via social networking, and 29 percent more likely to buy a product featured on TV online.

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This is all information that can help content providers do better to integrate content on television and on mobile devices. Conan O’Brien’s late night talk show on TBS (NYSE:TWX) features live app-only content that corresponds to the show’s airing on television.

The user behavior details are fodder for companies like Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) to create content together with providers like Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) hoping to encourage live viewers to increase ratings.