A lot of money and research is currently being put into social TV, as companies of all kinds seek to capitalize on the growing trend of people using their mobile devices in front of the TV. While the use of laptops in the living room is not unheard of, the greater convenience of smartphones and tablets has accelerated this trend.
New research from Nielsen appears to vindicate this investment. It found that 42 percent of US tablet owners use them in front of the TV every day, and the proportion for smartphone owners is only slightly less. Around two thirds of mobile device owners used them in front of the telly several times per week.
While they're larking about on their mobile devices, these Americans are doing a bunch of stuff including checking email and surfing the web. Women tend to spend more time social networking, while men tend to check the sports scores - it's reassuring the some stereotypes never change.
The challenge for companies looking to capitalize on this trend is to improve the proportion of people surfing for info on the programme they're watching, integrate themselves more intimately into the social experience, and find ways of further connecting with blokes following the fortunes of their sports team.