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Couch potatoes are out - outspoken armchair critics rule the remote

LONDON - 27 March 2008 - Chilling out in front of the telly may no longer be a lazy way to spend an evening, according to new research released today. Nearly 70 percent of online British adults who watch television (69 percent) multitask while watching the box by going online to check e-mails, shop and even have a say on blogs or online forums about the shows they love.

The research released today by blinkx, the world’s largest and most advanced video search engine, surveyed over 2,000 online adults in Great Britain about their TV viewing habits.

The survey found that watching TV has become an interactive pastime, with about one in six adults (16 percent) surfing the web for content related to what they’re watching and one in five (20 percent) logging on to have their say in online forums, social networking sites and via instant messenger. 

“The Internet has made it much easier for people to find out more about what’s happening behind the scenes of their favourite shows,” said Suranga Chandratillake, founder and CEO, blinkx. “We all want much more information about what we’re watching - whether it’s an episode spoiler, character information or sporting stats for those sports mad TV fans. To top it off, as the research showed, many of us are quite keen to share our thoughts on what we’re watching with other people online.”

The research also showed:
•   Men CAN multitask! Online men are just as likely as their female counterparts to use the Internet at the same time as watching TV, with 31 percent stating they do so always or often
•   We’re a nation of armchair critics: 30 percent of the adults surveyed are online while watching TV and interact with others in chat rooms, via instant messenger or on social networking sites
•   80 percent of our young adults (16-24 year olds) go online whilst watching TV

Multitasking men

Even the old adage that men can’t multitask has been challenged by the recent research. According to the research, men are just as inclined as women to go online while watching TV (68 percent men and 70 percent women). However, among those who do, men are more likely than women to surf the Web for content that is related to the shows they are watching (30 percent of men versus 18 percent of women).

Interestingly, the research has also shown that, among those who go online while watching TV, men are equally as likely as women to shop while they watch. Forty-three percent of both men and women peruse shopping sites while watching TV.

Armchair Critics

With the rise of reality shows such as Big Brother and X-Factor, it seems everyone from your little brother to great aunty has an opinion they want to share. blinkx has found that 18 percent of 16-24 year old TV viewers blog and comment online in chat rooms whilst watching TV.

We’re not keeping our opinions to ourselves either, 54 percent of all online British adults actively discuss shows with friends and colleagues afterwards, or interact online about what we’ve watched.

‘Two Timers’

Not only are we highly opinionated, but blinkx has also found that we want to find out more about what we watch, while we’re watching it. Nearly 70 percent of the online British adult population (69 percent) go online when watching television, and 21 percent of 16-24 year olds are always simultaneously online and watching TV.

Interestingly, even the Golden Oldies of Great Britain also ‘two time,’ with 50 percent of Silver Surfers aged 55 years old and up going online while watching TV.

When online and watching TV, we’re mostly checking email (83 percent), surfing the web (68 percent), or shopping (43 percent). Interestingly, there is no difference between the sexes in shopping habits, with 43 percent of both men and women searching for bargains whilst watching TV and being online.

Other Findings from the Report

In terms of the video or television content we watch online, there’s no surprise that, among those who watch online content, men are more likely than women to watch sports (48 percent of men versus 17 percent of women), and women are more likely than men to look for the latest celebrity news and gossip (27 percent of women versus 9 percent of men). 

About the Survey

Harris Interactive® fielded the online survey on behalf of Blinkx between February 13 and February 18, 2008 among nationwide cross-sections of 2,471 adults aged 18+ in the United States and 2,228 adults aged 16+ in Great Britain. The Great Britain data were weighted to be representative of the total G.B. adult population on the basis of region, age, sex, education, and income.  The U.S. data were weighted to be representative of the total U.S. adult population on the basis of region, age within gender, education, household income, and race/ethnicity. Both sets of data were weighted to be representative of the population of online adults in each country.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys.

Because the sample is based on those who agreed to be invited to participate in the Harris Interactive online research panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

Full data tables are available upon request.

About blinkx

blinkx plc (LSE AIM: BLNX) is the world’s most comprehensive video search engine. Today, blinkx has indexed more than 18 million hours of audio, video, viral and TV content, and made it fully searchable and available on demand. blinkx’s founders set out to solve a significant challenge - as TV and user-generated content on the Web explode, keyword-based search technologies only scratch the surface. blinkx’s patented search technologies listen to - and even see - the Web, helping users enjoy a breadth and accuracy of search results not available elsewhere. In addition, blinkx powers the video search for many of the world’s most frequented sites. blinkx is based in San Francisco and London. More information is available at www.blinkx.com. 

Press Contacts:

Tim Turpin
Sparkpr
+1 (415) 321 1894
tturpin@sparkpr.com

Clare Gayner
Bite Communications
+44 (0)20 8834 3454
Clare.Gayner@bitepr.com