We are growing more and more accustomed to using our mobile devices while watching TV. According to a Nielsen survey conducted in Q1 2013, 46 percent of smartphone owners and 43 percent of tablet owners use their devices while watching TV every day and more than two thirds do so at least multiple times a week. So what do we really use our devices for while watching TV? Do they complement our TV experience or do they merely distract us?
Nielsen's data points to the latter. The top three activities conducted while watching TV have nothing to do with what we're watching and probably draw attention from it. Only one in five mobile device owners follows social media conversations about the program their watching and even less people use their devices to actively contribute during live programs. Still, TV advertisers appear to benefit from our love for so-called second screens: 20 percent of tablet owners have used their device to buy a product that had just been advertised on TV.