Mobile Devices Are Taking Over Living Rooms in America

Television is no longer the king of living rooms. While it is still a major part of daily entertainment, mobile devices are stealing eyeballs.

Nearly half of households in the United States use a second screen every day while watching television, according to a new survey from Nielsen. Forty-six percent of smartphone owners and 43 percent of tablet owners admitted to using a second device. In fact, more than two-thirds said they used these second screens multiple times a week during the first three months of the year.

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What are these people doing? As the chart above shows, consumers are using second screens as distractions and program enhancements. Seventy-six percent of tablet owners and 63 percent of smartphone owners look up general information. Meanwhile, the number of tablet and smartphone users that said they surfed the web came in at 68 percent and 55 percent, respectively.

However, many consumers are using second screens in relation to the programs they are watching. According to the report, 49 percent of tablet owners and 34 percent of smartphone owners use their devices to look up information on actors, plot lines, athletes, or teams. The number of tablet and smartphone users that said they bought products or services that were advertised on television came in at 20 percent and 13 percent, respectively. Thirteen percent of people using both mobile devices said they voted or sent comments to live programs.

Social media is also capturing eyeballs across the nation. Just over half of tablet and smartphone owners said they used their devices to visit social networking sites while watching television. Twenty-one percent of tablet owners read conversations about TV shows, while 18 percent of smartphone owners do the same.

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As the chart above shows, it has been a mixed year for the companies involved in the mobile-Internet revolution. Shares of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) have surged 27 percent and 31 percent year-to-date, respectively. Even BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) shares have jumped 25 percent year-to-date.

Despite a strong performance over the past decade, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares are down about 19 percent this year. Shares of Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), the world’s largest social media company, have rebounded from its lows, but are still in the red for 2013. Thanks to Chinese telecom firm Huawei keeping an open mind on acquisitions, shares of Nokia (NYSE:NOK) jumped more than 5 percent on Tuesday and are nearly flat on the year.

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