• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

This book by two leading experts takes a fresh look at the nature of television, starting from an audience perspective. It draws on over twenty years of research about the audience in the United States and Britain and about the many ways in which television is funded and organized around the world.

The overall picture which emerges is of: a medium which is watched for several hours a day but usually at only a low level of involvement; an audience which views mainly for relaxation but which actively chooses favourite programmes; a flowering of new channels but with no fundamental change in what or how people watch; programmes costing millions to produce but only a few pennies to view; a wide range of programme types apparently similar to the range of print media but with nothing like the same degree of audience ‘segmentation’; a global communication medium of dazzling scale, speed, and impact but which is slow at conveying complex information and perhaps less powerful than generally assumed.

The book is packed with information and insights yet is highly readable. It is unique in relating so many of the issues raised by television to how we watch it. There is also a highly regarded appendix on advertising, as well as technical notes, a glossary, and references for further reading.

How Much we Like what we Watch
How much we like what we watch

The main thrust of this book is to explore television in the light of people's actual viewing behavior: how much they watch, when they watch, the extent to which the same people watch different programs, audience overlap for different episodes of a series, and so on. However, we also need to consider how much people like the programs that they watch.

What viewers say about liking television programs is consistent with what and how they watch, as described in the preceding chapters. This is reassuring because, if the patterns of liking and viewing were wildly inconsistent, we would tend to disbelieve at least one of them. Thus the findings are that people greatly ...

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