The 21st century has continually introduced us to more and more daily screen time, and more often than not we find ourselves looking at more than one screen at a time. This distractibility presents an issue for the media industry in that it is far more difficult for commercials to keep the attention of their target audience.
A study conducted during the Eurovision Song Contest in 2016 analyzes the effectiveness of related multi-screening when two tasks between separate screens have similar or related goals. An example that we see of this often is live-tweeting whilst watching broadcasts or ad campaigns being held consistently across media platforms.
The study consisted of sending out a survey after the Eurovision Song Contest and its subsequent commercial and found that related multi-screening increases attention to the television content, which then positively affects memory and persuasion.
The study observed three different types of related multi-screening, social media use, chatting, and information search. Respondents were not aware they would be invited to participate in the survey before it was sent out, so they could engage in their typical behavior during the program.
Responses from 797 people reveal that the more related the multi-screen activities, the more likely the respondents were to stay for the duration of the commercial break, and thus have a positive reaction to the program as well as the commercial. The study concluded that related multi-screening increases the attention and persuasion of the audience and can be used to positively impact the industry.
Claire M. Segijn, Theo Araujo, Hilde A. M. Voorveld & Edith G. Smit (2020) Related Multiscreening as a Strategy to Retain Audiences and Increase Persuasion During a Commercial Break, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 64:1, 41-61, DOI: 10.1080/08838151.2020.1718962