PSFK Asks The PurpleList: How Do You Use Mobile Or Tablet When The TV Is On?

PSFK Asks The PurpleList: How Do You Use Mobile Or Tablet When The TV Is On?

PSFK reached out to our global experts on the PurpleList and asked, what are your multiple screen viewing habits?

Nestor Bailly, PSFK
  • 7 november 2011

Similar to our previous question on how many screens are ideal in life, we’d like to drill down and get more specific on the viewing habits of the global network of experts on The PurpleList. When watching TV, do they use mobile or tablet devices? If so, how, and why? Here are some of the best responses.

Michael Myers: I call this media stacking (because I read it somewhere and it sounds smart) and when I polled my grad students, 100% of them did this.

I essentially check emails, read things that don’t require me to be completely engaged. I have texted about the show that’s on but it’s rare. The TV is on for background noise. I may look up occasionally to see what’s on but it’s rare. (supplemental)

There is another user type that texts (or IMs) back and forth during a show about that show. Businesses like and increasingly Facebook, will utilize these users to increase brand awareness, etc. (compliment)

I also believe that TV advertising could see somewhat of a comeback. When I really want to watch something, I DVR it. If I’m stacking, the TV is on and I’m not engaged, but I am however, sitting through the commercials. This means that if TV ads are structured differently – more audio focused to get the stacker’s attention, they may prove useful once again.

Will Osborn: I often use my tablet while watching TV, it’s just easier than my phone for a lot of things when sitting down.
I often look up films or programmes on IMDB or wikipedia to find out more about it or abut the topics. If I do this, I find it can add a lot more depth to things that I watch, as long as it is consistent or factual.

For live broadcasts, and a few normal programs, Twitter has become a lot more useful. When I look at my tweet state, it’s fairly clear to see the spike in activity when I’m watching a live program me or news report. I constantly talk to people I know for their opinions or search for news updates on Twitter to see if anything is going on that the news has missed out on.

Adverts really have become background noise now, unless it is something that really manages to grab my attention. Normally I’ll use the break to carry on any twitter conversations or do something else. Sometimes, if it is an interesting advert, it will often be pointed out by a couple of people at the same time, making people talk about it a little bit more.

I can honesty say I have never scanned a QR code on a TV advert, it just doesn’t feel normal to go waving my phone at the TV.

Brian Regienczuk: When I watch live TV, then I use both during commercials. On my phone, I would check/send emails, update my calendar, check facebook and tweet. Now that I have an iPad, I am reading a lot of content I have been missing (articles, magazines, upcoming events, videos, etc.) and also doing the above some too. I send less email with my iPad because I find typing on it less pleasant.
More often, when I watch TV, I am watching on-demand, Netflix or something else that has no commercials or very limited ones. When this is the case, I don’t use my phone or iPad unless an important email comes in or something like that.

Taylor WintersPersonally I use the tablet device to shop, post to FB or Twitter or research travel or read the New Yorker (the only publication I truly enjoy on my iPad to date) while the television is on. Not a huge fan or consumer of television in general, I find that a lot of the shows that find their way on-screen in our household are heavy in nature and I will use the tablet as a distraction that is not my computer (which denotes work). That said, at home, most of my tablet ‘tasks’ provide a comparable amount of levity. 

This question also sparked some interoffice debate and we put it to poll on our company Facebook page and the results of the post are as follows,

While watching television, preferred usage of a tablet or mobile phone device

37% shop
36% post to Facebook or Twitter
18% Google stuff seen/heard on TV *
9% Email

*indicates category added by users
WINTR company FB page,

Would make a good infographic!

The PurpleList connects businesses with the world’s leading creative minds. It’s an easy-to-use marketplace in which organizations and individuals can ask questions to a broad range of skilled professionals.

Read all the responses here – and if you’re a PurpleList member, leave your comments there too.

PSFK readers can sign up for expert membership using this link:


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