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deloitte-digital-activities-while-watching-tv-feb11.gifNearly three-quarters of American consumers are multitasking while watching TV, according to a new study from Deloitte. Data from “State of the Media Democracy” indicates that while watching TV, 42% of US viewers are online, 29% are talking on cellphones or mobile devices, and 26% are sending instant messages or text messages.

In addition, 61% of US consumers now maintain a social networking site, where Deloitte says constant streams of updates and discussion forums have made delaying awareness of live TV outcomes a near impossibility.

Multitasking Can Aid, Not Hinder, TV Revenue

Although consumer multitasking and social networking may at first glance appear to be a potential threat to TV advertising revenue, Deloitte analysis suggests it may actually enhance both the viewing experience and advertising potential.

“Consumers are not only watching television, they are talking about it, and those conversations are frequently taking place in real-time online and via IM/texting,” said Phil Asmundson, vice chairman and technology, media and telecommunications industry leader, Deloitte LLP. “By embracing the Internet as a platform that encourages audiences to participate in discussions about their favorite programs, television is maintaining its hold on the American public. People want to be part of the real-time conversation and they are embracing both platforms in a complementary fashion.

“And, because television has embraced the internet and social media so effectively, the traditional television advertising model is alive and well,” Asmundson said.

TV Still King of All Media

With all due apologies to Howard Stern, the self-proclaimed “King of All Media,” study data suggests that TV actually remains the king of all media with US consumers. For example, 71% of Americans rate watching TV on any device among their favorite media activities.

The survey results also indicate that live viewing on a home TV system continues to be the most common method among individuals for watching their favorite programming, and supporting the notion that traditional TV advertising continues to be a viable model. In addition, 86% of Americans said that TV advertising still has the most impact on their buying decisions.

Other Findings

  • More than half of US consumers prefer to watch their favorite shows on their home TV system.
  • Nearly three-quarters of US consumers prefer to watch their favorite TV shows live.
  • TV programming is the most-discussed media content, ahead of social networking sites, websites, movies and music.
  • 59% of US households own at least one flat panel TV.

TV Remains Dominant Global Medium

In 2011, TV will retain its global leadership of all media forms in terms of total revenues, including ad revenues, subscriptions, pay-per-view and license fees, according to a recent white paper from Deloitte. “Technology, Media & Telecommunications Predictions 2011” forecasts this year, TV will account for about 41% of all ad revenues, and grow its share to 42% by 2012. TV ad revenue share grew close to 10% between 2007 and 2010, from 37% to more than 40%.

About the Data: Deloitte’s fifth edition State of the Media Democracy survey was designed by Deloitte’s media & entertainment practice and conducted by Harrison Group, an independent research company, between September 10 and October 8, 2010. The online survey polled nearly 2,000 consumers between the ages of 14 and 75 years old in the United States.

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