Belfast Telegraph

Viewers surf web while watching TV

One third of viewers in Northern Ireland watch television while posting and monitoring comments on social media sites, a new report has claimed.

Some spend up to 32 hours a week sitting in front of the screen, according to a nationwide study.

But a growing number of addicts with smartphones and iPads at the ready are just as interested in what other viewers think as they follow online comments about the same programmes - a phenomenon called "Chatterboxing".

Latest research on TV viewing habits disclosed that almost one third of adults (31%) in Northern Ireland have expressed their opinions on Twitter and other social media sites. The UK average is 26%.

More than half (54%) were aged under 35, according to a study conducted for TeleScope 2012.

The report claimed that social media sites influenced viewing choices and 46% of young adults preferred to watch a live scheduled programme because they enjoyed following the online comments by other viewers.

One in five said it enhanced their TV viewing experience.

Northern Ireland viewers watch TV for an average 29 hours a week, including three hours monitoring programmes on a second screen such as laptops and smartphones. With the London Olympics due later this year, over half surveyed for the report which was commissioned by TV Licensing, said they planned to upgrade viewing technology.

Last year 38% watched TV content on the move and catch up viewing is also on the increase, the report said. While live viewing is still hugely dominant, a growing number (6.75%) last year created their own schedules.

Deborah King, TV licensing spokesperson for Northern Ireland, said: "This report points to the fact that people are taking advantage of new technologies to ensure they can enjoy TV in more ways than ever before, whether watching on bigger sets at home, via mobile technologies on the go, or on catch-up. And, of course, the chatterboxing phenomenon is bringing a new dimension to TV as a collective, social experience."

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