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Tablet trend lets TV viewers pack in two shows at a time

Between trying to follow the latest episode of Doctor Who on television while glancing occasionally at a football match on their iPad, tech-savvy adults may not have the brain power to cope with a new buzz phrase.

But if they do, they might like to know that in watching two live programmes at once they are "programme packing" - and according to a new poll, Scots are more likely than anyone else in the UK to do it.

Research by YouGov found 19 per cent of Scottish respondents said they had watched two programmes at the same time in the last year, while three per cent of Scots said they had watched three. That rises to 6 per cent among 18- to 24-year-olds.

UK-wide, 18 per cent of men and 11 per cent of women polled had watched two live TV programmes simultaneously within the past year

The figures comes amid an 84 per cent annual increase in household tablet ownership, which means nearly half the British population now has access to one of the gadgets. Almost two-thirds of British adults now also own smartphones.

One of the reasons for the rise in "programme packing" has been a perfect storm of summer sport. As well as Wimbledon, Formula One and the Tour de France, which held its Grand Depart in Yorkshire, there was the World Cup in Brazil and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

"A massive summer of sport caused schedule clashes which had the UK's sport-mad techies potentially reaching for TV remote controls, tablets, laptops and smartphones so they wouldn't miss a second of the live sporting action," said Stephen Farmer of TV Licensing, which commissioned the survey.

Prime among those scheduling head-to-heads was the opening stage of the Tour de France, which clashed with the Argentina v Belgium Fifa World Cup match on Saturday 5 July. The following day, the British Grand Prix clashed with the Wimbledon Men's Final.

And let's not forget Dolly Parton. The country music star's barnstorming Glastonbury set on June 29 was screened live at the same time as the Netherlands v Mexico World Cup match, while the season finale of Game Of Thrones matched up against Iran v Nigeria on Monday 16 June.

Those who are more mono­gomous in their TV watching and stay faithful to one programme shouldn't feel left out, at least not if they like to tweet about what they're watching. They have their own buzzword - "screen-stacking", a term coined in the US for people who like to comment in real-time on social media about plot twists, gaffes or even what colour tie a particular newsreader is wearing.

The practice can provide ­important clues to public opinion - during political debates such as the ones between Alistair Darling and Alex Salmond, for instance. It allows the "screen-stackers" to turn "water-cooler" television into a properly communal event. Wise to this fact, social media ­platforms such as Twitter are working on mechanisms to allow users to time-shift feeds so they can plan an all-day House Of Cards session, say, and still be able to enjoy the online chat about it.

Although viewing of time-shifted programmes is on the rise thanks to catch-up services and personal video recorders, the YouGov poll of 4,351 adults found the majority of television viewing is still done in real-time.

Mr Farmer added: "Live TV is the main draw for programme packing and screen stacking. Sometimes recording a programme to watch later just isn't an option".

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