How do You Watch? Defining Audience in the Era of Internet-Mediated Television
Committee MemberJohnston, Dawn Elizabeth B.
Leblanc, Jean Rene
Tinic, Serra A.
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractTelevision content and its consumption have experienced radical changes since the turn of the century which have yet to be systematically explored and theorized. As we head into this new era of television, study of this rapidly evolving audience begs continued research and a repositioning in a new context. The claim that the present-day audience is more interactive than in eras past has surfaced as one of the defining topics in the current literature, namely due to the prevalence of social media and the production of tangible markers of spectatorship that can be accessed and analyzed online. Discussed as a ‘highly participatory viewer’, the visible viewing practices posted online have come from a fairly influential portion of the television audience, however the focus on this particular group’s habits cannot be generalizable to the audience as a whole. ‘Interactivity’ is therefore best conceptualized not in monolithic terms, but as a concept that encompasses a spectrum of activities, from the interpretative to the physical actions of the viewers. A redefinition of the viewer in the age of internet-mediated television is needed, one that encompasses these activities, which may be more commonplace and less ground-breaking and that may not be readily observed online. This project explores the patterns of television spectatorship in a digital age, examining the multidimensional link between the widespread use of the internet and its surrounding technologies, the relationship between the findings of audience reception studies of the past and the psychology behind the motivations of television viewing. Through discussion with self-identified television viewers, the findings in this research indicate that television consumption is invariably linked to online access and online practices, the viewer appears to exercise additional agency in comparison to eras past, and that ultimately, internet-mediated television research must account for offline practices of viewing in addition to online to garner a truly representative understanding of the audience of the current age. This study was designed in the hopes that the behaviours identified would provide insight into the makeup of media consumption in a digital era, and perhaps the notion of how the influence of leisure may be manifested in other social arenas.
CitationChiang, A. (2019). How do You Watch? Defining Audience in the Era of Internet-Mediated Television (Unpublished doctoral thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.
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