Media Multitasking

Media Multitasking in the Living Room: Investigating Emergent Television and Film Viewing Practices

EngD research carried out by Jacob Rigby, 2014 cohort

Ubiquitous mobile devices have changed they way we consume film and television. Using devices while watching is now commonplace - messaging friends and posting on social media about the programme, or doing completely unrelated tasks like online shopping or writing emails. Furthermore, mobile devices are not only being used as a source of auxiliary stimuli, but as a platform through which to consume media instead from on-demand and catchup services.

This research examines the effect of emergent behaviours surrounding device use on viewer experience, specifically the level of immersion viewers experience. An in wild video observation study and a diary study revealed a number of common behaviours associated with new technologies, which encouraged fluctuating levels of engagement with the TV content. This served as motivation for a number of studies that were conducted to examine these behaviours. These studies focused on the different types of interruptions to viewing that viewers are subjected to by their devices, the effect device usage has on coviewers, and the effect of watching on-demand content on different devices. The effects were assessed using the Immersive Experience Questionnaire for Film and Television, an instrument developed for this research to measure immersion across different viewing experiences.

Results so far have shown that the emergent viewing practices negatively affect immersion in some cases. A lab study revealed that very small screens led to lower immersion when watching movies, and another lab study showed that constant interruptions from device notifications also led to lower immersion.