Determinants of Television Viewer Preferences -...

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Unformatted text preview: Determinants of Television Viewer Preferences Brad Gillespie [email protected] Much research into television viewership deals with the effects of particular genres on the audience (e.g. the effect of violence on teenagers). Results have been well documented in the popular literature. A less widely known area of research involves determining reasons for viewership of a particular genre or specific show. Research in this area falls under the heading of selective exposure to television (or more generally selective exposure to communication). The notion of selective exposure (i.e. what one chooses to be exposed to) has played a role in mass communication research since the late 1940’s. Only since the late 70’s has this theory been applied to entertainment programming [1]. Surfing Properties An important process of television viewing is grazing or surfing. Numerous studies reveal that men and young adults are most likely to change channels either to surf or to avoid lackluster program content and/or commercials [2]. Demographics reveal that viewers with cable channels tend to switch more than those with only broadcast options available. A natural conclusion is that viewers will tend to surf more when more programs are available. Not surprisingly viewers with remote controls tend to change channels twice as often as those without a remote control, the most popular method being to start low on the dial and use the channel up button [3]. Channel switching increases through the day - from a low of 19% among morning segments, to a high of 33% among late-night hours [4]. Zillmann and Bryant conclude that most program selection occurs “on impulse” in the process of surfing. [5]. It should not be inferred that because this choice is impulsive, it is arbitrary. Channel surfing is a directed search for pleasurable programming. Zillmann and Bryant propose a model that appears to explain the process and goal of channel surfing 1) Select an arbitrary channel. A particular program is encountered by chance or mindless probing. 2) If the encountered program is pleasing it is accepted. This selection is, so to speak, a gut reaction. It either feels good or it doesn’t. 3) If the program is accepted, respondents refrain from further program sampling. If dissatisfaction sets in, acceptance is withdrawn and program sampling continues. 4) Rejected programs are entered into short-term memory. In continued program sampling, the current program is compared with those in short-term memory. 5) If a program or program components are known (i.e. stored in long-term memory), the prior information regarding this program is used in the comparison. Zillmann and Bryant do not exclude other, more directed, forms of program acquisition. In the presence of a desired mini-series, program, or favorite news broadcast viewers will seek out that program night after night, assuming they are watching television [6]. This appears to be the exception rather than the rule. In general the process of surfing follows the above outlined process [5]. The study of selective exposure attempts to understand a fundamental issue of process [5]....
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This note was uploaded on 07/21/2011 for the course BUS 10001 taught by Professor All during the Spring '11 term at Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology.

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Determinants of Television Viewer Preferences -...

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