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New Multitasking Conundrum: Watching 4 TV Live Streams, Spots At The Same Time

Modern TV viewing has always been a complicated operation, with multitasking of other media and other device distractions.

Now, YouTube TV will test the boundaries of media attention. Viewers to the virtual pay TV service will soon be able to watch four live streams simultaneously in a feature called “Mosaic Mode.”

This isn't so revolutionary. Other pay TV providers have had this for years -- including DirecTV which offers HD Sports Mix where it shows six network transmissions at the same time on a channel, where you can click on one of the six to access that network.

To an extent this is a subset of DirecTV's overall TV program guide where you can select and/or record TV episodes. The downside: Only one audio of those six channels is available on HD Sports Mix. (Hey, that makes sense -- I already have my wireless earbuds in while listening to Apple Music on my phone!).

Another new feature for YouTube TV includes an adaptation for YouTube Shorts -- the company's TikTok-style short-form video service -- when viewed on large screens. (YouTube Shorts was originally intended for mobile devices).

Many of these new features for YouTube TV are intended to do more to keep virtual pay TV subscribers around longer -- and perhaps not flee to a world of exclusive premium streaming apps/platforms. And the “Mosaic Mode” most likely would also be used as a promotional tool.

But can this actually be used to increase advertising revenue? Indirectly. Near-term, I am just wondering exactly what kind of real-time engagement marketers might expect getting when their commercials run opposite some -- or all -- other TV messaging.

Talk about your TV ad clutter!

I am guessing that now the IAB will need to consider lowering its viewability standards of digital advertising. Currently, that's when 50% of the ad's pixels are visible in the browser window for a continuous one second.

I think a nano-second duration might work here.

1 comment about "New Multitasking Conundrum: Watching 4 TV Live Streams, Spots At The Same Time".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 29, 2022 at 7:51 a.m.

    Not to worry, Wayne. As it's impossible to watch more than one thing with any degree of attention at a time YouTube's users will simply switch their focus from one stream to the other---and not really get full value from any of them due to this attention dividing idea. Picture in picture is nothing new and it sounds great---until you realize that all you get is fragmented engagement. Is that a good thing?

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