An Observational Study on How Situational Factors Influence Media Multitasking With TV: The Role of Genres, Dayparts, and Social Viewing

Hilde A.M. Voorveld*, Vijay Viswanathan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study responds to the need for research on individuals' media multitasking behavior using observational data. Media multitasking can have a profound impact on media processing and effects. However, we have little knowledge on when people are likely to engage in media multitasking and, consequently, when these effects are likely to occur. This study examines how three important situational factors—television genres, dayparts, and social viewing—influence the amount of media multitasking. Granular observational data obtained by directly monitoring and recording media consumption behaviors of a large panel at 10-second intervals are used for the analysis. The study reveals that media multitasking with television is most prevalent when people watch sports or engage in channel surfing and less prevalent with commercials, news, and entertainment. Furthermore, the extent of media multitasking is greater in the morning and afternoon than in the evening, and also greater when individuals watch television alone than in the presence of others. Daypart differences are larger for genres associated with incidental viewing (commercials and channel surfing) than for genres associated with intentional viewing (news, entertainment, and sports). Sports is the only genre that is associated with higher amounts of media multitasking when watching television with others.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)499-526
Number of pages28
JournalMedia Psychology
Volume18
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology

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