Media strategies for multiscreen viewing

This article is part of a series of articles on media strategies for multiscreen viewing. Read more.

Sitting on the sofa in front of the TV, phone in hand, sporadically checking for texts or browsing online is a scene instantly recognisable to most. Maybe you'll even reach for a tablet or laptop to look up something you've seen on TV. The way we consume media today has changed beyond recognition, with many now dividing their attention between multiple devices. This phenomenon, which has infiltrated not only our living rooms but also our daily lives, is called multiscreening. To understand multiscreening, it is useful to remind ourselves of its evolution and how it has led to attention loss.

Clifford Nass, a professor of communications at Stanford University, developed the theory around Partial Media Displacement, a theory which states that as new media evolves, it steals time from existing media. It posits that cinema stole time from books, TV stole time from cinema and the internet steals time from TV and so on. But not only does it steal time from other media activity, new media also steals time from non-media activities, resulting in our lives becoming even more saturated with media time.