Nielsen reports that 31 percent of home Internet users surf and watch TV simultaneously, and that people who use the Internet more often also watch more TV. The top 20 percent of Internet users spend more than 250 minutes watching TV. People who do not use the internet watch 220 minutes of daily TV. Not surprisingly, those who watched the least TV also spent the least time on the Internet. According to the study, 31 percent of home Internet use occurs while the user is also watching TV. Advertisers and TV executives have long feared that the Internet would eventually have deleterious effects on viewership.

“The [Nielsen] findings would appear to be good news for broadcasters who worry the Internet is siphoning away viewers, and with them advertising dollars. It also helps explain the apparent paradox between rising TV viewership overall and the growing popularity of new media,” writes Reuter’s Steve Gorman.

The study also reports that female teens are the group who watch the most streaming video (82 percent). After that are male teens (64 percent), men 18-35 (57 percent), and men 35-54 (55 percent). While teens show more instances of simultaneous TV/Internet usages, adults 35-54 spend the most time doing it.

“[T]he early trends seem to indicate that online usage is complementing, not substituting for, traditional television viewing,” said Howard Shimmel, Senior Vice President Client Insights of Nielsen Company.

A July Nielsen survey found that viewers were watching more TV than ever before, and that average TV watching was 127 hours per month, compared with 26 hours on the Internet.

By Mark Alvarez