Study: Simultaneous Media Use Poses Ad Challenge

A study released Thursday by a Columbus, Ohio consumer research firm found that well over half of consumers use multiple media simultaneously.

The BIGresearch study’s authors concluded advertisers need to adjust their marketing campaigns to take into account the schizophrenic behavior of consumers in a media-saturated age.

“The implications of the research bring into question media planning concepts which assume the individuals or households making up the audience are absorbed by, or at least are attending to, individual media forms during time of exposure,” said Joe Pilotta, BIGresearch’s vice president of research and a co-author of the study.

The study found that women are more likely than men to consume multiple media channels simultaneously: 67 percent of women reported regularly watching TV when they go online, while 59 percent of men did. Likewise, 76 percent of women said they have the TV on while online, compared with 57 percent of males.

“It is not enough to view impact based upon old measures of reach and frequency, because they don’t account for simultaneity,” said Don Schultz, president of Evanston, Ill., consultancy Agora and a co-author of the study. “Our media planning concepts are out of date and need to be rethought, reorganized, and redesigned.”

The BIGresearch research jibes with recent findings of comScore Media Metrix that found 45.1 million Americans had an Internet-enabled computer and a television in the same room. Of those, 47 percent said they used them both at the same time, according to the study.

Like BIGresearch, comScore Media Metrix found that advertisers had not done a good job of using the Net as a complimentary medium to TV. The researcher found that only 15 percent of respondents reported visiting sites related to the show they were watching. About 11 percent said they sent emails or instant messages about the show, while another 11 percent searched the Web for show listings.

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