Marketers have long been worried about the erosion of their audience as consumers spend more time simultaneously watching TV, computers and mobile phones. New research shows that consumers enjoy having more than one data stream coming at them. But the news isn’t all bad for TV marketers who engage in cross-platform promotions.

Consumers have more ways than ever before to consume digital content. According to Nielsen research, some of these devices are more likely than others to be used while the TV is also on. The following percentages show the rates of daily simultaneous viewing:

  •  Tablets: 42%
  • Smartphone: 40%
  • eReader: 14%

Consumers are generally using their tablets and smartphones when commercials come on to check email (59%), surf for unrelated information (45%) and visit social networking sites (42%). The most common activity for women (60%) is to check email both when the program and ads are on. For men, that statistic is slightly lower at 59%.

But not all consumers are avoiding commercials. The Nielsen research shows that 19% of consumers look up information about a product they’ve seen on an ad. Men (21%) are slightly more like than women (17%) to do this research. And 13% of consumers use their connected devices to search for coupons or deals related to ads they see on TV. In this case, women (15%) are more likely than men (13%) to carry out the searches.

Marketers who want to connect with multitasking consumers should be sure their TV ad campaigns are well supported with online information about promoted products and services.

[Source: 40% of Tables and Smartphone Owners Use Them While Watching TV. Nielsen.com. 13 Oct. 2011. Web. 25 Oct. 2011]