Media Multitasking Usually Exception, Not Rule

September 17, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Media & Entertainment | Newspapers | Out-of-Home | Radio | Television

It’s no secret that people often multitask while reading a magazine, watching TV or surfing the internet – but according to data from MRI’s 2008 MediaDay study, in the case of most major media many consumers exclusively focus on a single one.

At-Home Use of Media

Half or more of at-home media use occurs while the consumer is exclusively engaged with a single medium (with the exception of radio), the study found:


For example, 55.0% of newspaper reading in an average day is exclusive, as is 53.8% of internet usage, 53.6% of magazine reading and 49.4% of TV viewing.

Moreover, when more than one medium is used simultaneously in the home, it is typically TV plus another medium:

  • 19% of at-home magazine reading is done while watching TV.
  • 17.4% of internet usage is done while watching TV.
  • 15.3% of at-home newspaper reading is done while watching TV.

The most common non-media activity at home while simultaneously using media is chores.

Out-of-Home Use of Media


When using media outside the home, the percentage of exclusive usage drops significantly for the internet and TV:

  • For the internet, only 20.4% of usage is exclusive, largely because 62.2% of usage is done while simultaneously working.
  • 46.4% of out-of-home TV viewing is done while simultaneously working or interacting with others.

“MediaDay offers valuable information for marketers building cross-platform media plans,” said Anne Marie Kelly, SVP of marketing and strategic planning at MRI. “For instance, the data help to identify what type of consumer watches TV and is online at the same time. TV ads containing a web URL to drive response could work particularly well with these targets.”


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