Multitasking is defined as “the apparent simultaneous performance of two or more tasks by a person at one time”. Now, we have all done it, from scratching our head whilst changing the channel on the TV to sending a text message whilst apparently “listening” to what someone else has to say.
The real question is, in the age of effortless information, are we really multitasking as well as we think we are?
The controversy surrounding multi-tasking will be forever debated by psychologists and academics as they wrestle with the heavy weight issues of the day. The truth of the matter is that there are of course pros and cons to multi-tasking. Sure, it allows us to approach more projects and flavours our days with a hint of diversity. However on the other hand, multi-tasking can make us feel overwhelmed and may result in a poor quality of work.
Although Multitasking is said to impair our ability function effectively, it most certainly does not stop us from doing it. According to Mashable 80% of people in the USA multitask on a mobile device while watching TV.
Using a Laptop in front of the TV is no new behaviour to most of us, yet few TV spots capitalize on the fact many consumers hold an Internet-enabled device in their hands during commercials. The DVR presented hurdles for advertisers a decade ago as viewers were able to fast forward through ads as are Sky+ customers today. However tablets and smart phones offer a different angle introducing a new challenge: A more engaged yet distracted consumer. Apps and tools, such as Shazam, Facebook and YouTube might offer an alternative way for marketers to get viewers interacting with there ads.
Taking this in to consideration the following stats may make for an interesting viewing:
- 38% of respondents say browsing the web enhances their TV viewing experience, while another 38% say it makes them more distracted.
- 70% of respondents multitask at least once a week; 49% do so daily.
- 15% are on their phones for programs’ entire durations.
- The top 5 programming genres attracting multitaskers are reality, news, comedy, sports and food.
- 94% of reported multitaskers engage in some form of mobile communication while watching TV, such as exchanging email, sending IMs, texting, talking or social networking.
- 60% browse the mobile web, of which 44% search for unrelated content and 38% search for related content.
- Mobile traffic spikes during halftime shows of sporting events; Yahoo Sports saw a 305% increase during the last Super Bowl halftime show.