This article was first published on The Globe and Mail

Phones are no longer just for making calls. TV sets no longer pull in content just from antennas, satellites or cables. The media world has changed.

For advertisers spending billions each year to reach people, one of the biggest concerns is to understand how people are consuming media – and whether those ad dollars are going to the right place.

On Thursday, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB Canada) released an annual study that it has done since 2004, to help paint that picture.

The IAB’s Canadian Media Usage Study, conducted with media and communications agency PHD Canada, pulls together data from different organizations that measure media consumption (including Numeris for TV and radio ratings, the Print Measurement Bureau for magazines, NADBank for print, and NADBank and Comscore for online.) The research also attempts to address a gap in measurement for advertisers who have embraced digital media.

All in all, the numbers make it look as though people are spending a lot more time consuming media – 21 per cent more, according to the researchers. But a lot of it is accounted for by multitasking, such as checking social networks while watching television.

“It’s overlapping time,” said Rob Young, PHD’s senior vice president and director of insight and analytics. “The biggest culprit is the TV-Internet combo.”

The data is imperfect, since different measurement agencies use different methods. Ultimately, IAB Canada is arguing for a more integrated measurement of media use, instead of the current scattered approach that sees different organizations responsible for just one part of the media landscape.

Here are some of the main takeaways, click here