Multitasking Media Users Merge Internet with TV, Other Media

November 8, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Media & Entertainment | Men | Radio | Television | Videogames | Women | Youth & Gen X

Internet users are multitasking more than ever by incorporating various media into an interconnected media experience. And watching television while online (58.3% of respondents) is the most common offline activity connected with internet consumption, a recent online survey by Burst Media found.

Over four-fifths (82.4%) of respondents are involved with another medium, activity or device while online, according to Burst, and among those multitaskers nearly one-quarter (23.6%) are “super-taskers” juggling four or more tasks while online. And it’s not only the young who media-multitask, nor is one gender significantly more likely to do so:


Television viewing is followed by job-related activities (33.0%), reading a book (31.1%), reading a magazine or newspaper (29.7%), talking on a cell phone (23.6%), listening to the radio (21.6%), school work (17.9%), sending text messages by cell phone or other device (17.8%) and playing videogames (15.5%).

In such a hectic, multitasking environment, consumers’ attention span is fragmented – and the implication for marketers is that they need to simultaneously direct ad dollars into an array of media choices to capture this fragmented attention, Burst said.

Among the findings on how consumers’ online habits are changing television viewing:

  • Online content and television programming is often complementary:


    • Three out of four (75.6%) respondents who watch television while online visit websites directly related to the TV program they watch.
    • 6.2% of respondents combine online and offline “all the time.”
    • The segment most likely to view web and related television content are men age 18-24.
  • Entertainment TV programming drives consumers to the web:
    • Three-quarters (75.5%) of the survey respondents who visit websites about programming they are viewing have done so while watching a TV comedy or drama.
    • Women are more likely than men to do this – 79.2% versus 72.1%.
    • Sports programming on television drives 37.1% of respondents to the web.
    • Men are twice as likely (49.5% vs. 24.5%) to visit websites about sports programming they are viewing than women.
    • About one-quarter of men and women visit websites about music/music video programming they are viewing.
  • Time watching television is flat at best:
    • A plurality (42.4%) of respondents say they watch less television today than one year ago.
    • About one-third (36.9%) say they watch “about the same amount.”
    • The decrease in TV viewership is most pronounced among respondents 18-24 years old. Among this group, half watch less television today than one year ago.
    • Nearly half of women age 25-34 (48.3%) and 35-44 (46.7%) say they watch less television today than they did one year ago.

“The shortening attention span of consumers poses a challenge to marketers,” said Jarvis Coffin, CEO and cofounder of Burst Media. “But, expanding media diversity can solve the problem for advertisers. It provides them with countless combinations to deliver coordinated messages across different platforms and get consumers attention.”

“This is particularly true between television and the internet – it’s a tactic that has been used by many marketers to great success, and is a cost-effective way to reach target audiences,” Jarvis said.

About the survey: In October 2007, Burst Media conducted an online study of 2,700 web users 18 and older about activities they engage in while online. The survey also examined how media fragmentation impacts the ability to market to people online.

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