Consumers who engage in multiple media use can primarily be sorted into groups of “information seekers,” “connecteds” and “instinctives”, according to a study in the Journal of Advertising Research (JAR).

Helen R. Robinson and Stavros P. Kalafatis, both from the Kingston Business School at Kingston University, discussed this subject in their paper, “Why do people choose to multitask with media? The dimensions of polychronicity as drivers of multiple media use – a user typology.

This research drew on a survey of 315 people in the UK who were born after 1980, with the panel equally split between male and female respondents.

And its goal was to understand “polychronicity” – a term applied to individuals who prefer undertaking multiple tasks at the same time – in the media space.

One cohort of people who embrace synchronous media use were called “information seekers” – an audience that is “more selective in their chosen combinations of multiple media use,” the study said.

Their preferences in pursuing this activity were “effectiveness and a wish to be efficient and get things done,” the authors wrote.

“A preference for instant access to information and knowledge to acquire different points of view was also significant. Individuals in this segment also preferred to switch between media and have multiple streams of stimulation,” they added.

The second cohort identified by the study were “connecteds”, who use several different combinations of media, but only do so “a little of the time”.

More specifically, their multiple media use was often driven by a sense of “compulsion,” while drawing on numerous channels helped them “absorb and manage information.

“These individuals also were attracted to the social benefits of multiple media use, such as gaining a sense of belonging and connecting with friends and family,” the study added.

“Emotional gratification and a preference for switching between media were not significant determinants of these individuals’ multiple media use.”

A third segment, the “instinctives”, participated in this activity primarily due to their “comfort with media multitasking”, as well as a mix of “compulsiveness” and “convenience”.

“Individuals in this segment are confident multitaskers, and multiple media use comes naturally to them,” the study further explained.

“Instinctives’ preference was based on ease of navigation between media, on different devices, and in different locations. Neither a preference for effectiveness and efficiency nor a preference for multimedia channels drove their behavior.”

Sourced from Journal of Advertising Research