Selective Exposure to Communication

By Dolf Henry Zillmann; Jennings P. Bryant | Go to book overview

people meters would seem to offer the best alternatives. Unfortunately, gathering survey data using any one of these techniques is expensive. If a secondary analysis of commercially collected data is not feasible, then researchers may have to opt for less desirable measures. Alternatively, if the research question is appropriate, experimentation might be employed. In either case, researchers should at least consider the principles that we have outlined. A brief summary of the measurement techniques reviewed along with their strengths and weaknesses is presented in Table 3.1.

Our assessment of different methods for measuring exposure is premised on the assumption that the environment in which choice behavior occurs will remain relatively constant. In the long term, of course, this is unlikely. Over the last decade, we have witnessed the growth of many new technologies that promise viewers a far wider range of programming alternatives than is currently available. It seems reasonable to expect that viewing behaviors will become more varied and heterogeneous in the coming years ( Rubens, 1984).

The measurement implications of such changes are only beginning to emerge. The reliability of diary-based measures, for example, suffers as an increasing number of options confront viewers ( Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau, 1983; Webster, 1984). Keeping an accurate diary when there are only 3 or 4 channels to choose from is one thing. The same task is much more burdensome, and prone to error, if viewers are switching among, say, 50 or 60 channels.

As technological changes enable more and more viewers to schedule their own programs, select a news or music video channel to which they may selectively attend, or a video text service with which they may interact, gross measures of time spent viewing could become less useful. Ultimately, these changes may force us to reconsider just what television is, whether it can be understood as a single medium, and if not, how the new media should be organized and studied. These emerging changes regarding television and expanding choice are likely to require further refinement in conceptualizing and measuring exposure.


REFERENCES

A. C. Nielsen Co. ( 1982). Television audience. Northbrook, IL: Author.

A. C. Nielsen Co. ( 1983a). Channel switching in prime time. Northbrook, IL: Author.

A. C. Nielsen Co. ( 1983b). Reference supplement 1983-84: NSI methodology techniques and data interpretation. Northbrook, IL: Author.

Agostino, D. ( 1980). "Cable television's impact on the audience of public television". Journal of Broadcasting, 24, 347-365.

Agostino, D., & Zenaty, J. ( 1980). Home VCR owner's use of television and public television: Viewing, recording & playback. Washington, DC: Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Allen, C. ( 1965). "Photographing the TV audience". Journal of Advertising Research, 5, 2-8.

Allen, R. ( 1981). "The reliability and stability of television exposure". Communication Research, 8, 233-256.

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Selective Exposure to Communication
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Contributors ix
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - Selective-Exposure Phenomena 1
  • 2 - Cognitive Dissonance in Selective Exposure 11
  • References 31
  • 3 - Measuring Exposure to Television 35
  • References 58
  • 4 - Informational Utility and Selective Exposure to Entertainment Media 63
  • References 88
  • 5 - Determinants of Television Viewing Preferences 93
  • References 110
  • 6 - Thought and Action as Determinants of Media Exposure 113
  • References 136
  • 7 - Fear of Victimization and the Appeal of Crime Drama 141
  • References 154
  • 8 - Affect, Mood, and Emotion as Determinants of Selective Exposure 157
  • References 187
  • 9 - Selective Exposure to Educational Television 191
  • References 200
  • 10 - Cable and Program Choice 203
  • References 223
  • 11 - "Play It Again, Sam": Repeated Exposure to Television Programs 225
  • Acknowledgment 241
  • Author Index 243
  • Subject Index 249
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