This paper outlines some alternative approaches to the study of audience behaviour other than those solely based on ratings or metering households. Findings from recent surveys and qualitative research in the UK point to the need to consider viewing in the context of the social group of family involved, the necessary constraints on any one individual's exercise of free viewing choice, and the nature of the rules and habits operating among families. Using a technique involving direct video recording of viewer behaviour, a recent small-scale research study of British families undertaken by the IBA points to several qualitative conclusions about the range of styles of viewing that exist. A more formal quantitative analysis of the same data demonstrates that presence in front of the screen cannot also be taken to mean attention to content; presence and attention both vary accordingly to family structure, individual characteristics and programme genre.
Author: Tony Twyman
May 1, 1994
- This could also be of interest