‘The goose with golden egg’

Why is it important to investigate simultaneous media practices? The answer is simple; this is how media are consumed today. Most of the media consumption occur as media multitasking or multiple media use. More interestingly, previous studies revealed that multitaskers are golden goose for advertisers: they are the influencers in the society and practically, they buy more products/services and spend more than single taskers in average.

To say, capturing multitaskers might be a tough task, but the outcome is surely worth of struggle. For example, generating media synergies with different channels and focusing on more creative ways of delivery might seem to be an obstacle at a first glance; however, the return would be more than paying off: more loyal customers with an improved intention and budget of purchase.

Increasing popularity of single platform multitasking

Although audiences might also utilize multiple platforms, more often media simultaneity takes place on a single platform, mostly on computers and smart phones. For instance, recent Ipad© and Iphone© technologies enable consumers to accomplish multiple tasks, which can be considered as a norm today. Moreover, convergence of media channels via social media platforms is another catalyst that enables individuals to watch videos, read latest news headlines, instant message and recommend products to their friends – all at the same time!

Context decides the experience

The study confirms that media multitasking and multiple media use experiences are all shaped by context: time, place and situation. In the afternoon and evening, consumers tend to conduct media multitasking and consume multiple media more than during the other time frames. Similarly, television based simultaneity is most common at home context and, in particular, intensive in forlorn conditions such as tiredness and misery. What is more, consequences are also influenced by environment, for instance, at home; listening to music while reading might improve the reading experience; whereas at work it might result in distraction and loss of performance.

Boredom, loneliness and entertainment – drivers of media simultaneity

Not so surprisingly, boredom and loneliness are strongest drivers for media multitasking and multiple media use practices. In most of the cases, to relieve these states, consumers add another screen or channel. Also, it has been found that today’s media consumers are insatiable; they always seek for more information. For example, mere reading of a news text is not fulfilling enough, indeed, to fully comprehend a news event; users seeks for related video content, additional background information and visuals of event scene. At the end, screening different audiovisual and textual sources simultaneously, consumers receive a relatively improved news reading experience.

Yin and yang: result is context and factor dependent

As expected, media synchronicity’s impact can vary. The degree of control or chaos it inflicts on consumer depends on the context and a variety of other factors. As an illustration of this, watching TV and browsing the Internet will result in an improved media consumption experience while alone at home, while during a busy workday, it might result in loss of performance.

Solution: generating synergy with creative and supportive content

As a conclusion, in order to gain audiences’ full attention and their loyalty, advertisers need to understand the context-dependence of media simultaneity and its all relevant aspects: reasons, experience itself and results. Following this, creative and supportive content should be delivered to facilitate generating synergy between media channels or enhancing non-media related activities. Transmedia story telling can be given as a good example of engaging consumers through synergy, where a single story is told using multiple screens while each of them making a unique contribution to the whole. Therefore, making them an active part of narrative involvement, consumers can be offered a more satisfying consumption experience, which can eventually bring more informed and loyal customer base.