Media Multitasking: Peripheral Attention Span

Last week I participated in the two-day Social Media World Forum and Apps World conference in New York City. The event had four tracks in the following concentrations: marketing, social media marketing, social media tools and app development.

Scott Lincke, Senior Director of product management at Yahoo! Connected TV, spoke most about behaviorally targeting the three stages of a TV viewing experience.

  • Decision Making
  • Consumption of Content
  • Review and Reflection

First, the viewer initiates the decision making process. Social activity influences every individual. The source of influence may be from community chatter, public marketing exposure or from monitoring the activity of their social networks. Psychology principles acknowledge social influence to be a powerful factor during decision-making. Media’s participatory culture suggests that the true power of persuasion is provoked by suggestion within social networks and through the viral distribution of messages shared within niche TV centric communities. I believe this initial discovery of content and decision to consume is an opportunity for social media marketing strategies to harvest new viewers, but a phase that broadcasters often overlook.

The second stage is the actual consumption of content. This is when the audience as a whole engages in discussion and reacts to the content, online or offline. Broadcasters and advertisers have an opportunity to sustain loyal viewers if they seek to control the distracted moments of inevitable media-multitasking with related content. For example, social intermissions are ideal moments for brands to trigger interaction. Viewers are instinctively reaching for their mobile/tablet. The companion screen can prove highly successful if the broadcaster learns to empower each viewer. Commercializing on these interactive opportunities will keep networks from becoming outdated and obsolete. Supplemental content supplied exclusively for connected devices is becoming an element that viewers not only expect, but also demand. Companion content that encourages participation on personalized devices sustains attention and results in higher retention rates.

Investing into synchronized communication and supplemental content will benefit content providers tremendously if they seek to control these secondary touch-points.

It’s no longer about keeping eyeballs focused on the shared screen, but keeping viewer’s attention during the broadcast! By being in command of the exact moments to launch interactive components, networks can seamlessly capture the peripheral attention span of their audience during intermittent programming. Guiding the viewer’s will to stay tuned through initiating custom “calls to action” will lead to increased live traffic spikes, viral p2p distribution, monetization opportunities, social feedback, brand retention and content resonance. Communicating one-to-one stimulates the currently inactive and passive spectator into an empowered participant and brand advocate.’s single framework customizes synchronized communication strategies for unique broadcast content and the (IS) Interactivity Suite provides support within on-air systems, enables mobile/tablet companion applications and monitors live social discourse.

The final stage is review and reflection. Analysis of social feedback within online channels of discussion, ratings, reviews, sharing and community exposure of the branded content is critical in order to successful pursue a more relevant branding strategy.

Original Publication Source: Blog

About Sarah Louise

I’m a millennial seeking to revolutionize TV with hybrid delivery and interactive programming. Seeking to advance the synchronization of multi-screen content to create heuristic harmony across fragmented devices. 2010 Graduate of Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Communications.
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