Channel planning: Media mesh or media mash?

Mike Bloxham

Ball State University

Touchpoints research is revealing the implications of multimedia consumption, including when it is competing for attention and when it is complementary

Multitasking has become a way of life. Correction – a way of survival. Who doesn't read email while on conference calls, text while walking down the street like a crack-berry zombie, and watch TV while surfing the web? How could we get through the day, keep up and maintain our seemingly ubiquitous work-life imbalance without multitasking?

Remember when your mom annoyed you (or you challenged your kids) by demanding: "How can you study with that TV on?" The assumption used to be that too many stimuli resulted in impaired attention to any one of them. It's the same logic behind the laws prohibiting mobile phone use while driving.

But is multitasking with media a good thing, or bad thing? As is so often the case, the answer is: ‘It depends.’ Such an unsatisfying truth. How did we happen upon this?