Multitasking Media Impacts TV's Dominance

tvonphoneTV gets more total consumer use than all other media -- but fragmentation of those audiences and multitasking make those results less clear.

Average time use for TV was just over four-and-a-half hours a day -- 278 minutes, according to a recent study by eMarketer. This is up from 274 in 2011. Online consumer daily use is 173 minutes; in 2011, it was 167. Radio comes next, slightly down to 92 minutes in 2012 versus 94 minutes in 2011.

Mobile use is perhaps the fastest-growth area: 82 minutes versus 54 minutes a year ago. On the flip side, print is now at 38 minutes, down from 55 minutes. All media use per day is now at 699 minutes -- just over 11-and-a-half hours a day. In 2011, it was at 678 minutes.

But multitasking makes it less of a easy victory for TV. "Consumers’ attention is more divided than ever as media multitasking becomes the norm," notes eMarketer. "Formerly linear consumption activity, defined by appointments with specific media, is now a tangle of simultaneous activities, some related, some not. TV remains at the center of this multitasking, but more often than not, there is another screen more directly in front of the viewer."

For example, simultaneous use of TV and another device -- the percentage of total interactions -- was at 77% in the second quarter of this year; with TV and smartphones multitasking use at 49%. Simultaneous use of a tablet and another device is at a 75% number; with tablet and TV multitasking use at 44%.

Teenager watching tv on mobile phone from Shutterstock

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16 comments about "Multitasking Media Impacts TV's Dominance".
  1. Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct , November 26, 2012 at 7:35 p.m.
    Wayne, I gotta complain. The study shows an increase in TV. But then it predicts TV catastrophe based not on research, but somebody's opinion. Truth is that we've always multi-tasked watching TV. I played darts with my roommate in college during commercial breaks in M*A*S*H every night. There is NO RESEARCH at this point showing that there's any change in TV effectiveness. And since the DVR prognosticators were so badly, badly wrong (DVR's increased ad effectiveness), we should be cautious. But, heck, given that this research is FUNDED by eMarketer - they couldn't report truth ("TV viewing is up"). Instead they had to report what their members needed ("TV is threatened").
  2. John Grono from GAP Research , November 27, 2012 at 7:19 a.m.
    Doug, I totally agree. Maybe it is that "TV is threatened by poor research reporting".
  3. Michael Natale from MCM Media Sales , November 27, 2012 at 10:26 a.m.
    Come on guys you can't be serious....of course multitasking impacts TV's dominance and ability to deliver an advertiser message, especially when trying to reach the affluent sub set who has much of the buying power. I think we all know that to be true and do you really need a study to prove that? Personally, I sit in front of my TV with my iPhone answering emails on commercial breaks (and even during the show) on many occassions and with my iPad as my "primary" screen watching Netflix many nights totally bypassing my "55 inch Samsung LED and all the commercials that go with it....and I am pretty sure i am not alone. As it relates to DVR penetration.... Good luck if you are retail account like Macy's, Movie Trailer or want to drive potential car buyers to an Auto sales event that has a limited duration flight....or any type of advertiser for that matter! And now Networks want to move to C7 ratings! (C3 ratings make little sense as well) Again, who really watches commercials anymore on TV anyway? This isn't 1950 when there was no remote control, 3 Networks and the whole family sat glued in front of the television and watched every second of the show and the commercials! That premise is long gone. Even if you do "catch and occassional few spots" at this point in time are you paying complete attention to them as in years past? Collectively TV ads (just like pre roll video ads online) are definitely much higher on the nuisance scale than in past years.....in fact they are a great waste of your time as a human being. The boat load of ads per break are simply annoying background noise and controlling your own content destiny through online, on demand, alternative screens like iPads, iPhones and DVR's (let's not forget the good old remote control) have been the stake in the heart of the ad vampire. The landscape has been forever changed because the way we react to, recall, consider and associate with tv commericals from here on in has changed....although TV execs and Nielsen will never admit it outright....they just want to raise cpm's year after year for less and less rataings (Check out the Financial Times article on the "precipitous ratings drop so far this season) People naturally just are fearful of change (especially tv networks and sellers!).....but the ship has sailed and it's an undeniable fact that this change has already happened, so let's not use the future tense of the word anymore.
  4. John Grono from GAP Research , November 27, 2012 at 2:36 p.m.
    Can someone from Nielsen or someone 'in the know' verify what happens to the measurement when someone skips over the ads. Is it the same as Australia where ZERO viewing credit is given? We don't use C3 here in Australia - but we have minute-by-minute data with all ad-skipping removed, and yes we are also seeing increases in usage of TV viewing. However, that quantum of time that people are viewing television IS spread across increasing viewing options meaning that 'average audience' is dropping. While 'effectiveness' is a nebulous thing to measure, Michael I can say in all seriousness that both the evidence in this story and the Australia situation corroborate the postion that TV per se is not being demonstrably effected. The difference is that I don't let my Samsung LED viewing (though I only bought the 46") affect my judgement and I rely on empirical evidence beyond a sample of n=1.
  5. Michael Natale from MCM Media Sales , November 27, 2012 at 3 p.m.
    I should clarify my position John....tv is effective, it's just not as effective as it once was based on all that we know (fragmentation, more distractions, multi screen usage etc)....but IT IS MORE COSTLY as cpm's rise and ratings drop year after year without exception in the US....how can anyone justify paying more for less year after year? Can it possibly be as effective with all that noise and the control of content passed along to the consumer? Yes Zero credit is given as C3 are the actual commercial ratings so if someone skips an ad it is not included. Can't speak for Australia but I am in the tv business and have been for 20 years so my sample of one is way beyond myself. If TV continues to be as effective as you pronounce the why aren't ad recall rates on television published anywhere? A recent conversation I overheard at an elevator bank in NYC while waiting to see an Acoount Team. "I can't believe we pay these people more year after year for doing a bad job....ratings are down again but they want x% increase and we give it to them, I want that business model" This is a verbatim conversation between two agency colleagues who were chit chatting after a meeting they must have just had. Sorry John
  6. John Grono from GAP Research , November 27, 2012 at 3:28 p.m.
    Michael we also have the same CPM inflation in Australia - but the discussion then revolves around cost-efficiency and not effectiveness, which are two very different beasts as any marketer should know. But why do we have the CPM inflation? The answer lies in twa facets I believe. The first is the supply/demand equation. TV (at least here in Australia) is regulated to 13 minutes an hour of advertising (in return for getting usage of the public airwaves). For time ad infinitum, demand has exceeded supply and as Adam Smith explained in 'The Wealth of Nations' back in 1776 prices will increase when that happens. I suggest your agency colleagues read it, or at least a precis of it. TV has done an excellent job of maintaining that nexus rather than generating more supply to meet that demand. The second reason I believe, revolves around audience accumulation. As all media fragment, the (perceived? / actual?) value of large reaching advertising vehicles increase. While online amasses large reach as a unified quantum, as individual advertising conduits sites do not accumulate audience at anywhere near the rate as TV does. You can put a single ad insertion in a TV programme and reach many millions of people in 30-seconds. No other medium can do that (though I suspect if you did a 'buy-out' or every Facebook page you would go close - as well as broke). The delicious irony is that as the unstoppable march of online continues, for the forseeable future the 'power' of a TV ad to reach audience masses (i.e. not only targetting those intending to purchase but also introducing the brand to new potential customers) is being amplified by the media fragmentation being wrought, thus allowing a premium to be charged in order to reach a lot of people quickly and effectively (albeit less of them and maybe less effectively than 20 years ago).
  7. Michael Natale from MCM Media Sales , November 27, 2012 at 3:52 p.m.
    20 minutes of advertising minimum per hour in the U.S. John.... it's basically this: Program content, Auto ad, Auto Ad, Wireless ad, Auto insurance ad, Financial Services ad, Network Promo, back to program content. That's alot of clutter
  8. Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct , November 27, 2012 at 6:41 p.m.
    @Michael - What's interesting is that the solid studies of TV effectiveness do not, in fact, show a reduction in impact of advertising. And impact is what matters. We specialize in direct response TV. We're getting the same effectiveness measurements (cost per response, units sold at retail) that we were seeing in 1994. The only thing that's changes is the PERCEPTION among advertising professionals about TV has switched. And that's great - more room for good clients to leverage TV to build business.
  9. Michael Natale from MCM Media Sales , November 28, 2012 at 2:49 p.m.
    Doug, how can lower ratings (year after year without fail), DVR penetration approaching 50% (much higher among affluent set), Smartphone and Tablet usage on the rise while watching TV (again much among the affluent subset), Internet connected TV usage, Netflix, Hulu, Cord Cutting etc etc etc.....equate to the same response rates as 1994? How?
  10. Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct , November 28, 2012 at 5:03 p.m.
    @Michael... I'll have to skip the ratings question because as a direct response TV guy, we don't find ratings terribly useful. But DVRs? Viewers ALWAYS skipped the vast majority of TV ads - by going to the bathroom, kitchen, or simply checking out. With a DVR, those ads that interest us (the only ones that matter) can be stopped, rewound, shown to a spouse, or to a family. In other words, DVR's merely automate what was already happening. And for those ads that are useful to us, DVR's help us pay attention. Net result: Impact of TV ads has increased since the DVR came around.
  11. Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct , November 28, 2012 at 5:07 p.m.
    @Michael... But what about Netflix, Hulu, cord cutting, etc? Two answers: Netflix, Hulu (and their ilk) killed the video store - and behavior is that we use them like a video store. So it makes sense that (so far) there's not an impact on TV influence. And cord cutting? Read the numbers very carefully. It appears to be mostly fiction. Due to recession, census shows US TVHH's dropped by nearly 2 million as households combined. Yet cord cutting claims are exceptionally tiny compared with the impact of the recession. My sense - those who LOUDLY cut the cord are the arrogant elitists who always avoided TV in the past (there's always be a 5% group). Now they get more attention because they tell us they "cut the cord". Net impact? Negligible so far. Who can tell about the future.
  12. Michael Natale from MCM Media Sales , November 29, 2012 at 11:23 a.m.
    Doug, you are going to have a tough time convincing folks that people actually use their DVR to stop, rewind and watch "commercials that matter" To quote ESPN "C'mon Man" I think the vast majority of people who DVR their favorite programs blow right past the ads to save time and avoid the nuisance in general that commercials have become (I am sure some may stop and watch a few here and there). I use Netflix almost every night to pick shows i want to watch with no ads at all, and I am sure others do the same though maybe not as frequently. We could argue back and forth about each new distraction, fragmentation, cord cutting etc.....it's more about the sum of all the distractions that has taken away from the traditional TV model.
  13. Kevin Horne from Lairig Marketing , November 29, 2012 at 3:08 p.m.
    I gotta say, Michael - you've commented five times (at least count) and you have yet to share a single piece of research data...all you've told us is what YOU do and how YOU feel. even after someone has put data back at you (e.g., cord cutting). This is like watching a presidential debate...
  14. Michael Natale from MCM Media Sales , November 29, 2012 at 5:30 p.m.
    Hold on let me leave my day job to dig up all the articles on DVR penetration and Mutli screen use and media fragmentation to pacify you Kevin. Look through Mediapost and Ad Age and check out Bob Garfield's "Chaos Scenario". But for starters read this from today. Aparently Doug read it. Excuses excuses...and it's more than what I believe because it's written about every day. In my origianl post I cited the WSJ article on teh precipitous drop in season to date ratings. Study: Cord-Cutting Rises,17.2 Million Broadband-Only by 2017 http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/188149/study-cord-cutting-rises172-million-broadband-o.html?edition=53949#axzz2DLIRohs1 "The number of broadband-only homes has grown from 9.5% of households in late 2010, to 11.2% in late 2011, to 12.5% today. The steady uptick is coming from both “cord cutters” and “cord nevers.” Cord cutters have ditched pay TV and tend to be older, with higher incomes and have children at home, TDG said. By contrast, “cord nevers” are usually between 18 and 24, with more than half making less than $30,000. TDG expects both groups to grow in the next five years, and said pay-TV operators should be most concerned about the Cord Nevers because this generation will view cable service as a luxury they don’t need" Read more: http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/188149/study-cord-cutting-rises172-million-broadband-o.html?edition=53949#ixzz2DeZRB1o1
  15. Michael Natale from MCM Media Sales , November 29, 2012 at 5:38 p.m.
    Kevin, if you watched 2, hour long dramas last night in their entirey and caught every commercial, you wasted a little over 40 minues of your time with 20 minutes of commercial interruptions and Network promos per hour. Personally, my time is precious and I like to be more productive with those extra 40 minutes so I use my DVR and skip all those ads and use that 40 to exercise or hang with my kids, but if you believe I am alone in that endeavor then YOU are mistaken.
  16. Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct , November 29, 2012 at 6:47 p.m.
    @Michael - the data already exists on DVRs. 12 years of experience and research means people ALREADY are rewinding to look at ads. TiVO releases data about these rewind rates in looking at ads. (Not surprisingly, some of the most rewinded ads are for direct response products - because those ads actually say something important.) That new cord cutting article from Media Post that you quoted is BS. In fact, they observe one thing then jump to conclusions about what it means. BAD form since consumers have always surprised us with media consumption - assumption is a good way to make an...