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Continous Partial Media Attention

Gareth's post about MP3s and the peak attention thing reminded me of these three sobering stats (from here) concerning media multitasking (or should I say continuous partial attention):

  • 36% of UK broadband users (aged 16-55) state they have both the TV and Internet on in the same room every day. On weekdays the time when TV and internet multi-tasking is most likely to happen is around 8pm in the evening. TNS/YouTube Media & Audience Study (broadband users aged 16-55), December 2008
  • Over 25% of internet users surveyed in the UK, FR, DE, IT, US, and Japan in October 2008 said they go onto the internet at the same time as watching TV "most of the time".Ofcom, November 2008
  • People aged 12-24 are notching up 23 cumulative hours a day, engaged in up to five activities simultaneously.NMA, April 2009

Simultaneous media use is not a new story. But a number of studies have shown that it is a relatively (and perhaps unsurprisingly) widespread phenomenon that is becoming more prevalent, and that some media are more prone to be consumed concurrently with other media than others. I don't know about you but if I sit and watch telly, I am often online (or doing something else) at the same time. Seems I'm not the only one. I'm not picking on TV here, but I guess it bothers me slightly that the subject isn't talked about more. It's surely a quite fundamental behavioural change in how we consume media (and advertising). The way in which billions of pounds of media are planned and bought relies on good old reach and frequency metrics that are based on opportunities to see. But if that opportunity is much less of an opportunity (or at least a different type of opportunity) than it once was, perhaps we ought to take account of that. Reach is one thing. Attention is another. Anyone else?

12 responses to “Continous Partial Media Attention”

  1. BenAS Avatar
    BenAS

    The NHL (The American National Hockey League), have an interesting answer the question how do we keep people’s interest when they’re watching hockey? – Their answer – NHL Gamecenter. Worth looking at the demo, it’s a really nice mix of streaming live games, chat and stats.
    If people are using two (or more)channels at the same time, why not embrace it.

  2. BenAS Avatar
    BenAS

    The NHL (The American National Hockey League), have an interesting answer the question how do we keep people’s interest when they’re watching hockey? – Their answer – NHL Gamecenter. Worth looking at the demo, it’s a really nice mix of streaming live games, chat and stats.
    If people are using two (or more)channels at the same time, why not embrace it.

  3. Holycow Avatar
    Holycow

    Neil – good thinking and your correct – there is a need for better metrics. The old argument of course is that if its interesting enough you’ll stop doing the other things. This really is a boiling frogs situation for the ad industry – we wont change until change happens to us by something better coming along – and by then it may be too late to change our remuneration structures. Fascinating!
    best
    Mark

  4. Holycow Avatar
    Holycow

    Neil – good thinking and your correct – there is a need for better metrics. The old argument of course is that if its interesting enough you’ll stop doing the other things. This really is a boiling frogs situation for the ad industry – we wont change until change happens to us by something better coming along – and by then it may be too late to change our remuneration structures. Fascinating!
    best
    Mark

  5. neilperkin Avatar
    neilperkin

    Ben – thanks for the link. Interestingly convergent (is that a word?) idea
    Mark – thanks for the comment. When you start thinking about the attention interplay between different media the difficulty of planning really effectively using single medium metrics is right there, alright

  6. neilperkin Avatar
    neilperkin

    Ben – thanks for the link. Interestingly convergent (is that a word?) idea
    Mark – thanks for the comment. When you start thinking about the attention interplay between different media the difficulty of planning really effectively using single medium metrics is right there, alright

  7. Deirdre Avatar
    Deirdre

    There’s a really fantastic conversation on the Supernova Network Age Briefings show from last month – ‘Disconnecting In The Network Age’ – featuring among others Linda Stone, who coined the term continuous partial attention way back when…
    http://bit.ly/YfC3T
    Lots of interesting research cited by the participants. Given all the areas of life it touches, it’s a good primer.

  8. Deirdre Avatar
    Deirdre

    There’s a really fantastic conversation on the Supernova Network Age Briefings show from last month – ‘Disconnecting In The Network Age’ – featuring among others Linda Stone, who coined the term continuous partial attention way back when…
    http://bit.ly/YfC3T
    Lots of interesting research cited by the participants. Given all the areas of life it touches, it’s a good primer.

  9. neilperkin Avatar
    neilperkin

    Thanks Deirde, I’ll take a look 🙂

  10. neilperkin Avatar
    neilperkin

    Thanks Deirde, I’ll take a look 🙂

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