What Else Are You Doing?

Single white female ad executive seeking to uncover behavioral changes in a dominant environment. So you are on your pc reading through email and you opened this message. (And you probably thought I was going elsewhere with this piece.) What else are you doing? Listening to the radio? Maybe you are IMing someone or multiple people for that matter. Now how 'bout your target audience? What are they doing? Do you know?

I'm not sure if you saw the bit about this in Media Daily News the other day. Bigresearch recently released top line findings of a study on simultaneous media usage. I emailed Joseph Pilotta, Ph.D, Vice President of Research to obtain a full copy. The premise is simple. People have more and more options by way of communication and entertainment. Not only do they have additional options, they are pressed for time. Radio ads ask consumers, "Don't touch that dial."

TV advertisers have been threatened by the remote control for years. Now they have personal video recorders (PVRs) to watch out for. Media fragmentation is happening now. I don't have to tell you, Internet advertisers are always aware that our competition is a mere click away. Reaching such users is becoming increasingly difficult.



I often look at time spent with a given medium with a grain of salt. The more important factor is interaction with my message, toward the ad unit, within the contextual environment and interaction toward the vehicle as a whole.

When you look at simultaneous usage its kind of hard to think about someone watching TV and listening to the radio. It seems as if both media would fight against each other. However, it's easy for me to think of someone surfing the Net, while responding to emails while listening to the radio. Why is that? We need to take a closer look at the dominant media. Well BIGresearch did just that by addressing the following:

  • What areas of media have the most power in simultaneous usage?

  • Which areas of interest command the most attention in simultaneous usage?

  • Are there social/cultural differences in receptivity to simultaneous media usage?

  • What type of messages and length are most viable during simultaneous media usage?

  • Which media/and messages are more powerful with simultaneous usage?

    Findings include:

  • Each media vehicle was planned (and still very well may remain to be) in isolation.

  • Frequency research assumed there were multi-media exposures but always at a different time.

  • Media planning tools have stayed the same whereas audience behavior has changes drastically.

  • An excess of over 50% of males and females are engaged in simultaneous media usage at any give time.

  • Almost 33% say while engaged in more than one media, they pay attention to one medium more than another.

  • 32.7% of males and 36.4% of females regularly watch TV when they go online.

  • 23.8% of males and 29/1% of females regularly go online while watching TV.

  • Time spent with media for TV/cable, radio, Internet, newspaper, magazines, and direct mail is over 10 hours per day.

  • 30.2% of the population say they mentally tune out during a TV ad.

    So what does this mean for us advertising folk? Well, there are certainly a lot of implications. I think we have an upshot in Interactive media due to the sheer nature of tracking just about anything. No matter what tool we subscribe to and have at our disposal, none account for simultaneous media usage. This data indicates the increased need for day parting. In the past I looked at day parting as capitalizing on peak times of usage. Now we need to shift our thinking a little bit. We need to think of peak times where the Internet can be the dominant media. Word of mouth, coupons and in-store promotion still rank highest in regard to influencing purchase decisions. The bottom line is, there is always a background and a foreground.

    Have you thought about this? Have you planned against this? I'd love it if you could post your thoughts/experience on the Spin Board.

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