Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, March 23, 2021

The Age of Distraction marches on, as more Americans (60 percent) routinely are watching both the TV screen and computer monitor at the same time:

“The rise in simultaneous use of the web and TV gives the viewer a unique on-screen and off-screen relationship with TV programming,” said Nielsen Company media product leader Matt O’Grady. “The initial fear was that Internet and mobile video and entertainment would slowly cannibalize traditional TV viewing, but the steady trend of increased TV viewership alongside expanded simultaneous usage argues something quite different.”

I’ll point out that I’ve been doing this split-screen viewing for years. And I’ve been doing it by design. I’ve never owned a desktop computer system, instead opting for notebooks for the past 10-12 years — long before most people started doing the same — mainly so I could situate both keyboard and remote control in the same room. So personally, this trending is nothing new for me.

I’m assuming the general population accomplished this shift similarly. Which hints at a deeper shift in people’s perception of the computer, and, by extension, the Internet. Remember when most households had a dedicated “computer room”, basically a home office setup where young and old family members did their online time? I’m guessing this is now out the window, with portable devices and wi-fi making the notion laughable. And that decentralization of the home computing experience led to a gravitation toward the other media hub: The television, which remains more fixed-positioned.

The behavior developing from this hardware interaction also tells me that advancing efforts at melding television with the Web on a single screen — assumptively, the larger TV set — are misguided. People like having more than one screen to flit back and forth on (often three, if you count the ever-present mobile phone). It’s becoming natural to take in the televised content almost in the traditional, passive manner — and then turning to the computer for the simultaneously interactive portion of the experience. Why combine all that action onto what would seem like a cramped single screen? The melding of the mediums has already arrived, and it’s taking place across multiple screens.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 03/23/2010 10:20pm
Category: Internet, Society, TV, Tech
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