You can have it all
People are engaging with more media sources at the same time than ever before, and the digitisation of content is a big reason why. George Baker reports.
Advances in technology are changing the way we access news, what we do in our homes and what we expect of the media, according to recent findings in the Ipsos Mackay Report.
Rebecca Huntley, executive director of the Report, which was conducted late last year, spoke to the Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers’ Association (PANPA) Future Forum about how Australians’ use of media impacts their lives.
“We asked them ‘how do you use media?’ and they started with their smartphones, they took out their tablets, some started talking about their GPSs and Skype,” Dr Huntley said.
The report also found that increasingly individuals decide the type of media that interests them and that they will ultimately consume.
“There’s this kind of sense of ‘I’m so time pressured, I have so many options in terms of the media I want, I don’t want to be bothered for one second by media that isn’t interesting to me,” Dr Huntley said.
For time-poor consumers digital and online news was found to be the preferred and most effective way of getting a concise, targeted and up-to-date news fix.
“It’s interesting to hear consumers reflect on how the constant flick in and flick out of news that we do on smartphones is changing the way we read and what we expect when we read a news story,” she said.
Dr. Huntley said that whenever the report tried to measure it, 60-75 per cent of people were using some other device while watching television, with the tablet being the real game changer.
“They use them [tablets] in an interactive way, like if they are watching Better Homes and Gardens and they see something they like they get straight on the tablet to get more information and see who’s selling the product, what the recipe is, and they see it as an enhancing experience,” she said.
After seven years of directing the Mackay report, Dr. Huntley has developed a tentative theory regarding the role of media in making quotidian tasks more engaging.
She said that all Australians, especially in Sydney and Melbourne, are used to complaining about traffic and long commuting times, but in the last two years they have been complaining less.
“My theory is that because people have their smartphones on them all the time and are looking at them and reading them, waiting for the train seems a little less onerous,” Dr Huntley said.
However she also mentioned the threat that digitisation is posing for traditional forms of media consumption.
“The digital commute and how we use media during the day is undermining the more traditional news bulletin in the evening.”