Multitasked Media Consumption May Mean Filling In The Pieces
A news story on a TV screen sits high in a gym workout room. With no audio, an on-screen message at the bottom of the screen appears to complement what a CNN anchor is saying: "Hundreds Killed In Chicago.
At least five people working out stop immediately. They watch without blinking. A video finally appears, and it’s reporting on long-term, increased violence in the Windy City.
One viewer then says something everyone watching wants to hear: "Not all at the same time! Whew!" (Turns out there have been 476 murders in Chicago so far in 2012, up from 20% in 2011, according to CNN.)
Modern media consumption brings on a type of media shorthand, when certain facts might not be presented or consumed perfectly by both consumers and TV business executives.
TV depends on us engaging in sight, sound and motion to get its full effect. But of late our attention isn't always at its fullest. Why? Because of increased multitasking. It’s like over-working on one's trapezius.
TV screens in health clubs are not new. But they serve as an example of missing pieces and facts when treadmill runners, for example, view news, entertainment or ads.
Many consumers go online to social media areas to moan, cheer and criticize. And guess what? They don't always have all the facts.
If you text while sort of watching CW's "Beauty and the Beast," if you surf music sites while half-listening to Fox's "The X Factor," you may not be getting the full picture. When it comes to pure entertainment or advertising, this doesn’t pose much danger, only the waste of media buying and planning. TV news? That may be a different matter.
Live helicopter coverage of a car speeding by other cars on a freeway -- with no sound or context -- may not be the whole picture. No matter. We are forced to come to some fast conclusions.