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Convergence of digital technologies and platforms poses challenges and opportunities for the traditional commercial television sector as viewers’ interactivity, fragmentation and autonomy becomes more traceable. As a consequence, personal and behavioural data are gaining importance in the advertising industry. In this paper, we study how different roles of users are incorporated in the commercial television industry. Commercial television provides a useful case, as its business model has – since long – been based on audience commodification through aggregated audience measurement, which presupposes a passive viewer. Because commercial television is organised as a two-sided market, audience behaviour and industry dynamics influence each other. The new affordances of digital television might lead to disruptive changes in the television business model, as advertisers and media planners are challenged to find new ways to reach their target audience. Today, 86% of the Flemish population has digital television. Although linear television is still very popular - 63 % of Flemings watch live TV on a daily basis- viewers do make use of the new services digital television offers: 51,7% uses the set-topbox for ad skipping every day. Nearly 70% of the Flemish population uses the Internet while watching TV. Additionally, 57% of these multitasking viewers are engaged in the program-related internet activities (iMinds, 2014). Audience members thus take up various roles, as more passive viewers or as active users that either engage with television and advertising content or avoid it.Traditionally, television audiences have been valued as commodities within political economy, or for their productivities within cultural studies. As Bolin (2012) argues, social and textual productivities become more valuable on digital platforms. Through ‘datafication’ (Mayer-Schönberger & Cukier, 2013) these audience productivities increasingly become commodities. We add that digital platforms allow datafication of different user practices as well, thus resonating in the strategies of the commercial television industry. This is in line with an institutional theory perspective towards audiences and their roles. In doing so, we try to overcome the duality between the audience as a commodity or as productive and resistant. Instead, we want to underline its agency by framing them in a structured, institutional role while acknowledging the dynamics of changing audience practices. To investigate how different roles of users are incorporated in the commercial television industry, 9 expert interviews were conducted in 2012 and 2013, complemented by follow-up interviews in 2015. Initially, the interviews focused on the strategies of the Flemish commercial television industry and the underlying assumptions on audience behaviour. The follow-up interviews focused more specifically on the audience, changes in audience conceptualization and commodification within the Flemish television industry. We aimed to incorporate experts from different actors in the television value network such as commercial broadcasters, network providers, media agencies and umbrella organisations that focus on digital marketing opportunities. As experts are not neutral, variation in background and professional environment of the stakeholders was important to provide insights in the way audiences are conceptualised, measured and implemented in commercial media strategies. ReferencesBolin, G. (2012). The labour of media use: The two active audiences. Information, Communication & Society, 15(6), 796–814.iMinds, iLab.o (2014). Digimeter.pdf (No. Report 7).Mayer-Schönberger, V., & Cukier, K. (2013). Big Data: A Revolution that Will Transform how We Live, Work, and Think. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
|Publication status||Published - 13 Jul 2015|
|Event||IAMCR 2015 - Annual Conference of the International Association for Media and Communication Research - University of Québec in Montreal, Montreal, Canada|
Duration: 12 Jul 2015 → 16 Jul 2015
|Conference||IAMCR 2015 - Annual Conference of the International Association for Media and Communication Research|
|Period||12/07/15 → 16/07/15|
Bibliographical noteIAMCR 2015, 12-16 July 2015, Montreal, Canada.
- Television audience
- digital broadcasting
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SRP18: SRP (Zwaartepunt): Towards a Sustainable Media Ecology? The Case of the Flemish Audiovisual Industry
1/11/12 → 31/10/17