TV Watchers Use Cell Phones to Read E-Books During Commercial Breaks, Pew Says

Half of all cell phone users incorporate their cell phones into their television watching, a new Pew Internet and American Life study finds. Nearly 40% of those use their phones to entertain themselves during commercial breaks, including by reading e-books.

“Clearly a number of those people who say they use their phones to keep themselves occupied while watching TV are reading books, news articles or other long form content,” said Aaron Smith, a senior research specialist at Pew and co-author of the report, adding that Pew didn’t have space in the survey to ask specifically about e-books.

Smith’s assertion is based on the findings of an earlier Pew report that showed more people were using their smartphones as e-reading devices. (Even Kobo’s Michael Tamblyn uses his iPhone as his primary reading device.)

According to the study, smartphone users, who would be the only group of cell phone users able to read e-books on their phones, are much more likely to use their phones during television watching. Nearly three-quarters of smartphone users incorporate their phone into their television watching compared with just a quarter of regular cell phone users.

Other findings from the study:

— 23% used their phone to exchange text messages with someone else who was watching the same program in a different location
— 22% used their phone to check whether something they heard on television was true
— 20% used their phone to visit a website that was mentioned on television
— 11% used their phone to see what other people were saying online about a program they were watching, and 11% posted their own comments online about a program they were watching using their mobile phone
— 6% used their phone to vote for a reality show contestant

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