TV and Internet use together growing

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Americans are spending more time watching television and surfing the Internet simultaneously, and nearly 60 percent of TV viewers use the Web at the same time at least once a month, according to a Nielsen report released on Monday.

The Nielsen Three Screen Report said the findings in its study belied early concerns that the growing popularity of the Web would kill off traditional TV.

“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,” said Nielsen Co media product leader Matt O’Grady.

The report for 2009’s fourth quarter, which tracked viewing across TV, the Internet and mobile phones, found a 35 percent rise in the amount of time Americans used the TV and Internet simultaneously compared with the same quarter in 2008.

It found Americans now spend 3.5 hours per month watching TV while on the Internet.

Active mobile video users grew by 57 percent over the year to 17.6 million from 11.2 million people, with much of the increase attributed to the growth of smartphones.

The report found that Americans now watch about 35 hours of TV per week and two hours of time-shifted TV via video recorders (DVR), with 25 to 34-year-olds making more use of time-shifting than any other age group.

DVRs are now found in 35 percent of American households, the report said.

O’Grady said America’s love affair with TV looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.

“We seem to have an almost insatiable appetite for media, with online and mobile programing only adding to it,” he said.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Gerald E. McCormick