tablet researchOlder Americans increasingly are watching TV shows and movies on tablets. The number of Americans 55 and older who use tablets to do so on a weekly basis has skyrocketed in the last year, while usage among U.S. tablet owners under 46 has plateaued, according to new research results from Altman Vilandrie & Co. and Research Now.

Survey results show that 19% of tablet owners aged 55 and up are watching movies and TV shows via tablets on a weekly basis in 2012. That compares to 11% last year. The number of tablet owners aged 45-54 doing so increased from 15% in 2011 to 24% this year. The actual number of all older viewers—tablet owners and non-tablet owners—watching TV shows and movies via tablets weekly more than tripled since last year. Their numbers still amount to a small percentage of total tablet TV and movie viewers, however, according to survey results.

In contrast, tablet viewing usage among U.S. tablet owners aged 44 and under was essentially unchanged over the past year.

TV networks and cable service providers that integrate their TV services with Internet and social media options stand to gain an advantage when it comes to attracting and retaining customers, Altman Vilandrie & Co. director Jonathan Hurd noted. Tablets remain turned on even when viewers watch movies and TV programs on their TV sets, often placed beside them on the couch, according to the research partners. Some 47% of 18-34-year-old tablet owners multitask with their tablet at least half the time they’re watching TV.

“While it may not make parents seem any cooler, older consumers more and more are adopting their kids’ viewing habits,” stated Hurd, who oversaw the survey. “The biggest surprise in this year’s survey is how often older tablet owners are watching television shows or movies on their tablets. Tablets and other devices are transforming how, when and where all of us watch television.”

Other key findings included in Altman VilandrieResearch Now survey results include:

  • Younger consumers’ online viewing continues to rise sharply. Seventy-five percent of 18-24 year-olds watch online TV shows or movies weekly, up from 62% last year.
  • News and TV comedies are the top choices for what people watch online, cited by 50% and 40% of online watchers respectively.
  • Among those keeping their cable TV subscriptions, the desire to watch live news (77%), new TV shows (66%) and live sports (58%) were the main reasons given.

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