Study: There’s Never Been So Much Media-Multitasking

January 23, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Email | Paid Search | Radio | Television

The only way for people to keep up with the deluge of media options is to multitask – and that’s just what has?happened, according to BIGresearch’s 11th?Simultaneous Media Survey (SIMM 11), which found the level of simultaneous media usage has increased from SIMM 10 (July ’07).

Regular simultaneous media consumption for online, newspapers, magazines, radio, TV and direct mail is up anywhere from 1% to 35%, depending on the medium, BIG research found.

“Technology is creating new media options faster than most people can assimilate and is causing more multitasking,” said Gary Drenik, president of BIGresearch. “Unfortunately for marketers faced with the challenges of an uncertain economy and the need to increase marketing ROI, new media options are impacting how consumers use traditional media.”

TV’s influence on consumers to purchase products has declined, whereas those of new media options – such as web radio, satellite radio, instant messaging and blogging – increased, according to Drenik.

“Consumers seem to be seeking information from digital platforms while TV has traditionally been viewed as a brand-building medium, which isn’t providing the requisite information,” said Drenik.

However, media that can target, be timely, and deliver value to consumers – such as coupons/direct mail, radio, yellow pages, newspapers and newspaper inserts – increased in purchase influence, BIGresearch found.

Some key findings from SIMM 11:

  • Channel surfing remains the top regular activity engaged in during TV commercials, with 41.2% doing so, followed by…
    • 33.5% who talk with others in the room or by phone
    • 30.2% who mentally tune out
    • Further down the list, just 5.5% regularly fully attend to commercials.


  • In SIMM 11, eating remains the No. 1 activity people engage in while using media, followed by doing housework, doing laundry, cooking and talking on phone.
  • Top simultaneous media used when reading a newspaper are watch TV, listen to the radio and go online.


  • For people listening to radio, other media simultaneously used are (top 3) engage in other activities, go online and read the newspaper.


  • Web radio usage is up in all dayparts.
  • Cable is where most TV viewing takes place.
  • Dayparts that had the highest number of media types increase usage over SIMM 10: 1:00 am to 6:00 am, Noon to 4:30 pm, 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm, 7:30 pm to 11:00 pm and 10:00 am to Noon.
  • Top 3 in-store promotions for influence of purchasing a product: product samples, shelf coupons and special displays.
  • Top 3 media for triggering an online search: Magazines, reading an article on the product and TV.
  • Blogging increases in all dayparts.

To receive a recap of the key findings, visit

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