Media Meshing: An Evolution in Media Consumption

Until recently, I’d never heard of “media meshing.” I’m sure many of you haven’t heard of it, either. But I’m willing to bet a wooden nickel you’ve already done some media meshing of your own, perhaps without even realizing it.

I first heard about media meshing at Yahoo’s “It’s a Broadband Life” event in Dallas. Yahoo conducted research into how broadband has affected people’s lives. In cooperation with mediaedge:cia, it conducted ethnographic studies and quantitative research on people of many lifestyles.

Many of the findings seem intuitive: people with broadband spend more time and buy more online. But there were other interesting findings, such as how the shift from pre-broadband to broadband changes usage patterns. For example:

  • Communicating becomes socializing.

  • Tasks become life management.
  • Sound bites become full stories.
  • Just for fun becomes personal entertainment.

Media meshing is what really got my attention. At its simplest, it’s integration. For several years, we’ve talked about time spent with one form of media or another. And we’ve done a great deal of bragging about how the Internet has stolen audience from other media.

However, the Yahoo/mediaedge:cia research shows people with broadband don’t necessarily make big shifts in their media consumption in terms of time spent. Instead, they change how they use other forms of media in conjunction with the Internet. They use the Internet to maximize their engagement with other media.

People read stories in magazines and newspapers, then go online to get multiple angles on the stories they just read. They watch a reality TV show, then go online to get character bios, behind-the-scenes information, and more. This type of behavior results in much deeper, richer experiences with print and TV.

Much of this occurs as a result of multitasking. I know I do it. When I go home, I get on my laptop, hop on my wireless broadband network, and perform a multitude of tasks. Often, my wife is watching TV and I follow along while working on my computer (she calls my laptop “the other woman”). Media consumption goes up, and, inevitably, prompted by the TV, I use my browser to find something. That’s when media meshing occurs. People do it to get more perspective and access and to make their media consumption.

How do you take advantage of this evolution in media consumption? Leverage interactive with everything else you’re doing, of course.

You have the opportunity to go deeper, too. TV networks and producers recognize the Internet’s power. Networks refer to the Internet as the “second half” of the experience. Producers retain their shows interactive rights and integrate “experience triggers” into them.

Pontiac recently did a deal with the The Apprentice, highlighting its new Solstice. Viewers were encouraged to get more information on the show and the Solstice at Yahoo’s Apprentice site. People got that deeper, richer experience not only with the show, but also with the car.

According to Hitwise, the episode in which the two teams competed to create a Solstice brochure increased traffic to Pontiac’s branded site. The Apprentice site featured a link to, where users could preorder the vehicle. The site experienced a 180 percent increase in visits during the week the episode ran over the week earlier. Fifty-two percent of visits to came from at Yahoo that week. Searches for “pontiac solstice” and “pontiac” increased 190 and 369 percent, respectively, during the week the episode aired.

This is just one example of how you can take advantage of media meshing. If you have more ideas about how this could work, I’d love to hear them.

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