Media Attention and Multi-tasking

Yesterday Mediamark Research released data (written up in MediaPost and Mediaweek), from its ongoing “Survey of the American Consumer,” showing different media consumption patterns among US consumers at home and outside the home (e.g., work). It turns out that on an average day, print newspapers get the most focused, uninterrupted attention of any medium:

MRI survey of american consumer

Source: MRI daily media usage, 2008

Compare the “at home” numbers from 2007 (basically the same):

  • Newspapers — 53.7%
  • Internet — 51.3%
  • Magazines — 50.3%
  • TV — 45.9%
  • Radio –28.6%

Newspapers are the most trusted advertising medium (that extends to online newspapers), according to separate recent studies from Nielsen and Dynamic Logic. And the MRI data show that consumers pay more undivided attention to newspapers than any other medium. 

In contrast to these data, the widely held perception is that newspapers are in rapid decline and a dying medium (ad dollars are certainly fleeing). But there’s obviously a great deal of value still left for advertisers. Newspapers need better PR.


5 Responses to “Media Attention and Multi-tasking”

  1. joe Says:

    Greg, I don’t know that this data suggests anything, actually. It certainly doesn’t contradict either the reality or perception that print newspapers are a dying medium, in rapid decline etc. or that their real problem is simply a matter of bad PR. Maybe all it really means is that while you’re in the WC, with newspaper in hand, it gets your undivided attention or when you’re on the tube heading into the City it beats talking to the person sitting next to you. In the US, I see a lot more people, these days, with an iPhone in their hand than I do a book, a newspaper or a magazine.

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    The broader irony and implication of these data is: as consumers move to electronic media they trust them less and are more distracted generally. So the advertising is generally less effective on the new media.

  3. joe Says:

    Don’t mean to be argumentative but I would sum it up thus:

    “Say you were standing with one foot in the oven and one foot in an ice bucket. According to the percentage people, you should be perfectly comfortable.” ~Bobby Bragan, 1963

  4. Greg Sterling Says:

    There’s no argument about where the money’s going –> online. But online ads aren’t as trustworthy as traditional media (from several surveys) nor do they (in most cases) have the consumer’s full attention. That’s my point here.

  5. More on Media Attention & Multitasking « Screenwerk Says:

    […] to a similar, but earlier study (Sept, 2008 by Mediamark) traditional newspapers see the least multitasking of any of the major […]

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