45 percent of U.S. tablet owners watch TV while using device daily

Owners of media tablets and smartphones in droves are using their second-screen devices while they watch television, according to data released April 5 by The Nielsen Company.

In a blog posting on the company's website, Nielsen said in the U.S., 88 percent of tablet owners and 86 percent of smartphone owners report simultaneously using their second-screen device while watching TV at least once a month.

What's more, the data, which comes from a Nielsen survey fielded in the fourth quarter of last year, reveal 45 percent of U.S. tablet owners use their device and watch TV at the same time on a daily basis; 26 percent reported doing so many times each day.

Similarly, 41 percent of smartphone users in the U.S. reported tuning in and using their device at the same time on a daily basis.

While Nielsen found the most frequently reported activity on a smartphone or media tablet while watching TV was checking e-mail, using the device to more deeply engage with content related to the television show was also popular.

The survey also looked at the smartphone and tablet habits of viewers in the UK, Germany and Italy. Dual usage in the UK was similar to the U.S., according to Nielsen. The study revealed 80 percent of tablet owners and 78 percent of smartphone owners used their devices while watching TV.

In Italy and Germany, however, simultaneous TV viewing and device use was significantly lower.