Tony Surtees

TV and Internet are the "word of Web" media

More evidence to show that TV and Internet are the "word of Web" media, where consumers exercise their freedom and choice of media to support those brands that reach them across both in combined and integrated campaigns. Cross platform advertising using TV and online together is more than synergistic, they are essential partners in reaching audiences who have more money and exercise greater discretion in buying power. They are also more likely to either be or become "alpha" users in Social Media and more influential as opinion leaders amongst their cohort. With acknowldgement to Netimperative of the UK, here are the details of the research;

media multitaskerPeople who use two or more types of media simultaneously are amongst the most likely to engage with ads and buy products online, according to new research and the most popular combination is TV and Internet.

The study, from the European Interactive Advertising Association (EIAA) reveals a marked increase in the number of people choosing to consume different media simultaneously, heralding the emergence of the engaged ‘Media Multi-Tasker' and highlighting how consumers are entering a new phase of communications and commerce online.

The first ‘EIAA Media Multi-tasking Report' provides valuable insights into the digital lifestyles of Europe's media multi-taskers.   The research shows the increasing shift towards media convergence with TV and internet media multi-tasking growing rapidly, +38% since 2006 and almost a quarter (22%) of all Europeans now using TV and internet simultaneously.    

For brands, this highlights a growing audience of active and engaged consumers that can be targeted more effectively.

Advertisers can therefore benefit from a better understanding of user behaviour, feeding insight into media strategies particularly when planning multi-media campaigns.   

The Growing Influence of ‘Word of Web'   Media

  • multi-taskers are heavy communicators online with more than half (51%) using Instant Messaging (vs. 27% of non multi taskers) and communicating via social networks (53% vs. 33%) to share updates and opinions with friends and family. With almost a third (29%) of media multi-taskers using their mobile for more than talking (e.g. via email, IM, communicating via social networking) it suggests this group are both technologically sophisticated and more deeply engaged as a target market.
  • Media multi-taskers are also more inclined to take onboard information from the websites of well known brands (57% vs. 46% of non multi-taskers), price comparison websites (57% vs. 47%) and customer website reviews (54% vs. 41%) when researching or considering a product or service.
  • Almost half of TV and internet multi-taskers (48%) also admit to actively changing their mind about a brand compared to 36% of non multi-taskers. This implies that ‘word of mouth' is fast developing into ‘word of web' and for marketers, demonstrates how consumers are becoming more empowered to formulate and communicate thoughts and opinions of brands online. It also highlights the need to effectively engage with audiences online to build and safeguard brand reputation.

Media Multi-Taskers Buy More Online

The research shows that TV and internet multi-taskers

  • buy almost twice as many items online than those that do not mix their media (12 items vs. 7)
  • and spend 26% more money on these items (€798 vs. €632 on average).

The types of popular products bought are not limited to low ticket items and
media multi-taskers also seem especially keen on entertainment, FMCG and
technology products.    

                                                TV and internet multi-taskers                         Non TV and internet multi-taskers
Travel tickets                                             57%                                                               45%
Books                                                        41%                                                               36%
Electrical Goods                                        41%                                                               27%
Clothes                                                      41%                                                               27%
Concert/theatre/festival tickets                  41%                                                               30%
Holidays                                                    40%                                                                32%       

As a result of the internet,

able to buy better products & services,     60%                                                               46%

staying in touch with friends & relatives    80%                                                               69%

better able to manage finances online      69%                                                               42%

Ultimately, with 88% of media multi-taskers conclusively stating they cannot live without at least one web activity (compared to 79% of non multi-taskers), it seems the empowering effect the internet is having on lifestyle options and choices is far greater overall than amongst those who do not mix their media.    

Profile of the Media Multi-Tasker  

The majority of European media multi-taskers are aged under 35. One quarter (25%) of those who mix their media regularly fall within the digital youth category (16-24 year olds), while 29% are part of our ‘Golden Youth' ( 24-35 year olds) - a group already identified as heavy and engaged users of the internet. In comparison, only 13% of media multi-taskers are aged between 45 and 54 years old. However, it seems that Silver Surfers (+55) are also a demographic that is increasingly meshing their media with a 75% rise in media multi-tasking since 2006. Marketers should bear these demographic differences in mind when thinking about future multi-media campaigns.

Moving into the Mainstream  

The rapid growth in the media multi-tasker is expected to be further propelled by the development of technology and accessibility of the internet.

Twice as many media multi-taskers access the internet via mobile phone or Wi-Fi compared to non multi-taskers. With multi-taskers more likely to have access to wireless technology (57% vs. 43%) as well as own a laptop (69% vs. 54%), it suggests that media multi-taskers will continue to deepen their engagement with the internet whilst watching TV and that as the numbers of multi-taskers overall rise, media-meshing will move towards the mainstream.    

Alison Fennah, Executive Director of the EIAA said: "With a growing number of Europeans meshing their media, it is important for marketers to understand this demographic, their behaviours and how to effectively target them. The EIAA's Media Multi-Tasking Report provides key insights into this area and highlights the need for marketers to understand that the days of siloed media consumption is over.    "With the development of technologies such as smart phones and mobile devices, it has never been easier for consumers to access the internet on the move and so, mesh their media. Therefore, to keep ahead of the game brands need to better
understand how media can work most effectively together and reflect this in their marketing strategies."   

Source: and (




Posted by Stephen Byrne, 11 June 2009

These figures don't seem to present anything very different to similar US studies, with the exception of those multi-taskers who use social media where propensity to recommend brands is higher, but not as high as this study would suggest. What would be more interesting would be to see a more specific profile of multitaskers as European demographics tend to be far more fragmented and I am afraid this picture might be skewed to certain European countries rather than to the EU as a whole.


Tony Surtees iPRIME Tony Surtees
Company: iPRIME
Position: executive director
Tony Surtees is CEO of HYPERLOCALIZER.COM. Past Vice President & General Manager of Yahoo's e-commerce division in the US. Tony was founder and CEO of Read Tony's full bio

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