Media Multitaskers Abound

Despite mounting evidence that juggling multiple tasks can undermine one’s ability to focus, America is increasingly becoming a nation of multitaskers.

Gfk MRI’s annual Media Day survey shows that media usage is approaching a tipping point.

The number of adults engaging in other activities while watching TV, reading magazines or newspapers or using the Internet is nearly equal to the number who do nothing else when using each of those four major media.

Among all adults, 51 percent of respondents did nothing else while reading magazines. That’s down from 54 percent in 2008, when MRI conducted the same survey.

Similarly, the portion of newspaper readers who exclusively read the paper stood at 50 percent, down from 55 percent two years ago.

The biggest change was in Internet use, where exclusive users have dropped to 45 percent from 54 percent in the past two years.

Non-multitasking TV watchers were unchanged over the past two years at 49 percent.

Advertisers are still likely to find the most focused media consumers among print readers. Among women magazine readers, 60 percent reported they did nothing else while reading, a figure that rose to 67 percent among women age 18-34.

MRI has conducted its Media Day survey since 2007. For the survey, MRI contacted 4,000 adults via phone.