The Whole Story - Media Double Acts

Media Double Acts

The growing multitude of media devices and channels available to us has made media multitasking more complex. This USA TouchPoints analysis looks at which pairs of media devices are most commonly used at different times of the week.

The data within USA TouchPoints is provided throughout the day by respondents in half-hour increments. This makes it possible to investigate how behavior differs by time of day, impossible to determine with next day recall or one-off surveys.

As a result, it is possible to understand which media double acts occur most frequently and what reach they deliver among Adults 18-64 by day part and day of week.

For this analysis, we have compared the standard working day of 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. with the evening — defined as 5 p.m.-11 p.m. (True, not New York media community hours, but perhapas more in line with the general population.) We also looked at media most commonly used within the same half-hour.

One notable finding is the extent to which we see the same devices occurring within the seven media pairings that deliver highest reach. While there is theoretically room for as many as many as 14 different candidates, there are in fact only five: Computer, Mobile Phone, TV, Radio and Print.

TV appears most frequently (fours times), which is not surprising, given how much time we spend with it and considering we watch in an environment compatible with other media use. Mobile Phone, Computer and Radio all feature three times — speaking to their ubiquity throughout the day — and print just once.

While some may expect TV to dominate the findings, things are not so clear cut. For example, more people use a computer and a mobile phone in the same half hour on a weekday than any other combination, though this slips to third place behinds Mobile and TV and Computer and TV on the weekends, when far fewer people are working in offices and computer use declines.

Computer / Mobile is most distinctly dominant during the work day in the week, but tails off markedly into the evening as time with TV increases and the hierarchy of device combinations is impacted.

The strength of the Mobile Phone within the various device combinations is a reflection not only of it’s ubiquity but of the multiplicity of functions. Most of which can demand little in terms of time commitment. Also, as a communications device the Mobile is both perennially available and the one device that has the ability to “interrupt” wherever you are.

Understanding which media combinations are most likely to be used by a given audience at different times of the day or week will increasingly help shape media plans and budget allocation — particularly as such insights become linked to other behaviors, such as shopping trips, visits to QSRs, restaurants and the movies. The result: creative will be shaped to leverage accordingly.




4 comments about "The Whole Story - Media Double Acts".
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  1. Michael Natale from MCM Media Sales, April 11, 2013 at 5:27 p.m.

    Bottom line..and this is the bottom devices, game consoles, smart tv's, netflix, tablets and dvr's all distract and fragment the commercial tv viewing audience more and more...the ultimate reality though is....who wants to watch commercials anymore during primetime viewing?!!!? Advertisers and agencies have short term memories though, and will pay 5-8% increases in cpm's in this years upfront even though ratings are down about the same 5-10% year to year and the success rates for new programs are like 25% tops! That's a great business model.

  2. John Grono from GAP Research, April 16, 2013 at 3:43 a.m.

    Interesting article Mike (Bloxham). But good to see the other Mike is still banging on about CPM increases though has abated on the 'TV is the new radio' line of thought. So Mike, one thing seems a tad rum to me. And that is the average reach of a combination peaks in the mid 20s (for Computer/Mobile M-F). Is this calculated on the (claimed) average reach of each half hour within the zone and not for the zone? I suspect it is. I've done the numbers for Australia for M-F 1800-2400 and just for commercial Free-To-Air TV and the half-hour average reach is 25% - much higher than the data in your graph. Am I misinterpreting the graph or are we Aussies that different (which would be odd as we watch less TV per day that in the US)?

  3. Mike Bloxham from Magid, April 17, 2013 at 9:18 a.m.

    John - sorry for the slow reply (busy times).
    If I understand you right - and if by zones you're referring to what I'd call day parts - then the answer to the question is that the data in the chart represents an average of the day parts.
    I can understand that if thinking of this relative to total TV reach in the day part then it might seem low, but based on observational research I've done and reported on previously, these data seem directionally and intuitively on target.
    We've typically seen that the percentage of all media consumption that is concurrent in the average day is between 28-32% with observational research. When one looks at specific media pairings that's obviously going to be quite a bit less.
    Thus far we haven't really established a framework for our expectations of just how much less as there has relatively little research consistently published from the same same source on the subject. Hopefully we'll be doing something about that over time.
    Final point - which I'm sure you know: the reach of any given pairing is going to be limited by the individual reach of the lesser performing medium (the lowest common denominator of the two if you will), but the frequency with which something like TV or Computer shows up in the top performing pairs is - conversely - a function of their ubiquity and individual reach.
    Cheers as ever,

  4. John Grono from GAP Research, April 17, 2013 at 10:01 a.m.

    Thanks Mike. Yes by 'zone' I meant 'daypart'. Where I was misreading it is that your data (correct me if I am wrong) is the pairwise usage (i.e. must have used both) rather than the cumulative of both nominated media. Agree that the pairwise maximum is the reach of the lesser medium. I was thinking TV reach PLUS the reach of the second medium (i.e. cumulative 1+ reach across the nominated media). Cheers.

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