Power of media


Power of Media

Communication remains God's great gift to humanity without which we cannot be truly human, reflecting God's image. Freedom of speech is a right of individuals as they possess their own free will. Because of their free will, individuals have expressed their thoughts, desires, and aspirations through the mass media (Russell, Norman and Heckler, 2004).

Communicating freely with other affirms the dignity and worth of each and every member of society. Freedom of expression is essential in the attainment and advancement of knowledge. Communication brings forth various ideas and information. People today are better informed and more enlightened thanks to thriving press freedom and expanding mass media here and in many parts of the world (KRCMAR and Kean, 2005).

All points of view are represented in the marketplace of ideas and society benefits from debate about their worth. Monkeys see; monkeys do, has become a well-known saying in today's society. In addition, this is how media influences society as it leaves a large impact on the individuals (Potts, Richard, Dedmon and Halford, 1996).

As it has an innate power to engage and affect the total person. It leaves a compelling and lasting impact on both the conscious and subconscious. Though media informs and educates, it also corrupts and exploits, leading it to contribute to the moral degradation of society (Russell, Norman and Heckler, 2004).

Media's role in society is to inform, educate, and entertain. It tells the truth and provides positive stimulation that can build up images and reputations the right way. It can also be a tribunal of justice. Therefore, media has contributed greatly in ways that both enlighten and enrich society, but in other ways have deteriorated and perplexed it. It is not a surprise to learn, then, that media is the most powerful source of information, and nothing else in today's world influences public perception as heavily (Salzman, Philip 1993).

Media in the Philippine is simply a reflection, an outgrowth, a mirror of society as a whole. After all, media has been perceived to have such a large power over people. But, rather than performing its role in society, media today has strayed, having a more negative than positive implication. It backstabs, destroys images and reputations, covers up the truth, stimulates negatively, and imparts the wrong messages (Anderson, Eugene, Fornell, and Lehmann, 1994).

Moreover, people experience a freedom of the press that becomes an avalanche of conflicting information and opinion. It confuses even as it is supposed to enlighten, it assails the senses even as it is supposed to refine them, it entertains more than it enlightens, it gossips more than it informs (Salzman and Philip, 1993).

Media has become morally and creatively bankrupt. Media shows no values and moral ethics and the content is filled with no other topic but violence and sex. Consequently, media mirrors society by reflecting it as a society with low morals, with crime, sex, and pornography. It contributes to the national breakdown and the moral degradation of society. It has corrupted and exploited the freedom of the press (Miller, 1995).

Media teaches by means of vibrations and images that leave a greater effect on the youth. People become victims of media's manipulation as they are being influenced for the worse. Because of the influences that affect the subconscious, all forms of media should be taken more seriously as to avert harmful effects (Potts, Richard, Dedmon and Halford, 1996).

Media is one-sided. It only cares about money - this is media's world. Thus, it corrupts and exploits society, predominantly the youth, by generating an atmosphere of want (Miller, 1995).

Modern Media

The media's main impact is psychological and intellectual. Media and entertainment companies shape public opinion and help frame the terms of public debate. The media is what we read, listen to and watch. In parallel, through its close relationship with advertisers, the media also exerts a powerful influence on the decisions we make, the products we buy, and the sort of questions we ask when we make our everyday choices (Gerbner, 1990).

The long view of history proves media's power by showing that the medium itself, in the long run, is more powerful than the messages it carries, because the medium determines what can be communicated and how we think about that communication (Potts, Richard, Dedmon and Halford, 1996).

Television, radio stations, newspapers, magazines, and internet sites are largely owned and controlled by profit-making businesses. Since it is the bourgeoisie who control the media, it is only natural that it is their ideas get promoted through both things like advertising and the actual media products themselves - movies, soap opera, tabloid newspapers, and consumer magazines and so on (Anderson, Eugene, Fornell, and Lehmann 1994).

Changing Media Values, Study of Pakistan

Media is one of the important organs in forming national identities. For the last ten years media in subcontinent is dominated by India. Initially the domination was in the form of movies but after the advent of satellite television they have changed the lives of people of subcontinent (Malhotra, Iqbal 2000).

After the liberalization of Indian media Indian satellite channels especially entertainment channels were launched rapidly. This all started in 90's, at that time rest of the countries of South Asia including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka etc were far behind India. During that era they all were relying on national televisions. Television programming was going to full circle now. It started of with Doordarshan. Then comes satellite television. From local content it becomes more national (Sonwalkar. Prasun, 2001).

People of these countries were not having any access to liberal media like Zee TV or Star TV Asia. Indian entrepreneurs just took advantage of this fact and launched plenty of satellite channels one by one. In 1999 Pakistani government allowed private television and radio channels to be aired from the soil of Pakistan, until this time Pakistani audience were used to Indian entertainment. Pakistani government tried to vanish Indian satellite channels from the TV lounges of ordinary Pakistani family through imposing ban on Indian satellite channels, but they failed (Gholam Khiabany, 2003).

In this era of Globalization most of the regions are affected by commercialization and unequal flow of Information. The worst victims of Globalization are developing countries those are victims of unequal flow of information from developed countries. In South Asia case is totally different, this region is dominated by India, which itself still comes in the category of developing country. The idea of writing this text is to write something about non-western world (Sardar, Ziauddin 1993).

India is advancing in media industry, this is not only influencing Indian society but also its influence stretched to its neighbors, Pakistan Bangladesh, Nepal and even Sri Lanka is dependent on there media (David and Crawley, 2001).

Language and traditions played important role in the development of Indian Media industry, Urdu language bind India and Pakistan. Everybody in Pakistan understands Urdu, and there is no visible difference in Hindi and Urdu. Elites of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka always speak about cultural imperialism of India. Pakistani government tried to stop this influence by banning Indian channels in Pakistan, but Pakistani people are now more inclined toward Indian media. Zee TV, Sony and Star Plus (Indian Satellite Channels) have penetrated in the upper middle class Pakistani homes as never before (Sonwalkar. Prasun, 2001).

According to UNESCO India is the lowest importer of Television programs, only 8 percent of the programming showed on television in 1990 was imported from abroad. Indian satellite channels disseminated from the control room of cable operator to the subscriber home, not only shows film and television dramas but also showed political and other events to grab advertising (David and Crawley, 2001).

The soap opera culture which was really western concept was ideally adopted by Star Plus. In nineties when Indian media liberalized from the monopoly of Door Darshan, and star network started there satellite channels, then initially star network laid the foundation of westernized form of entertainment. Like Star's Channel V, Zee's Music Asia channel is a successful indigenized version of Western models such as MTV and Channel V (Mowlana Hamid, 1996).

Proceeding in step with the liberalization of the economy, television has brought about a liberalization of culture within India over the past decade. This has meant, on one hand, access to sources of news and entertainment not controlled by government but, on the other, exposure to a tele-visual culture at odds with traditional norms and values (Gholam Khiabany, 2003).

Yet while it may have been Western programs such as The Bold and the Beautiful that led this "cultural invasion," the resulting competition for audiences has clearly been won by those channels that have developed programs based on Indian popular culture, particularly film and film music, and have generally been able to indigenize the global forms of commercial television. Indian satellite television networks especially Star Plus have cached the foreign formats and tried with the Hindi versions. "Kyon kai saas bhi kabhi bahu thi"(Indian satellite channel Star Plus famous soap opera) is most famous soap opera in South Asia (John Ellis, 2000).

In South Asia soap opera culture was introduced by Zee TV, in 1992 "Tara" (Zee TV Soap opera) was first and praised by public all across South Asia. Before soap opera Pakistani Drama's were very famous, but due to soap opera culture the whole television drama making industry is on the verge of collapse. Even Pakistani satellite channels are copying same format. This is the chain of globalization, Indian media absorbed western form of entertainment and they experimented (Butcher, 2003). Indian television programs and films are integral part of Pakistani society. Over the years through videos and TV, there has been an acceptance of Indians as similar people, so it would be very difficult to eliminate Indian videos and TV programs from Pakistani society.

The availability of international television channels via satellite at the beginning of the 1990s forced the liberalization of a television market formerly held as a national monopoly by the state broadcaster Doordarshan. There remain important technical limitations on the degree to which television can serve as the platform on which new convergent information services can be delivered (Banerjee, 2002).

As language and region increasingly dominate media content and viewership, concept of Imperialism and hegemony acquires new meanings in localized settings. Language and traditions played important role in the development of Indian Media industry, Urdu language bind India and Pakistan. Everybody in Pakistan understands Urdu, and there is no visible difference in Hindi and Urdu. Elites of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka always speak about cultural imperialism of India. Pakistani government tried to stop this influence by banning Indian channels in Pakistan, but Pakistani people are now more inclined toward Indian media (Butcher, 2003).

Zee TV, Sony and Star Plus (Indian Satellite Channels) have penetrated in the upper middle class Pakistani homes as never before. The coming of Satellites television has posed peculiar problems for the official custodians of Pakistani culture because it has breached the ideological boundaries of the state in a much more intensive way then ever before (David Page and William Crawley, 2001).

Importance of this research:

Media industry (drama/soaps) in Pakistan is at it growing stage and due to the reason it lacks many important resources in terms of capital and infrastructure it gets dependant on the copy art and starts taking influences from the neighboring countries. Such research would be able to highlight different aspects of the industry and the weakness that are the causes of the failure to capture the audience. Similarly how these weaknesses can be tempered and taken care of. Efforts can be put on those areas for improvement.

This research will benefit the producers that are produce dramas/soaps, the production companies and the TV channels involved in this area. Pakistani industry has a lot of talent in terms of the human resource but they are not being utilized at the potential. By highlighting the issues and their remedies one can easily understand how to improve the quality of the product.

Theoretical Framework and Research Question

The reason to conduct this research was to study and understand the correlation between the connectedness with the program while watching any TV program. This research will try to identify the existence of any sort of relation between the viewership and the connectedness of an individual with the program. In order to prove such relationship the frequency of viewership will be questioned and level of connectedness with the program will be analyzed.

In this research five variables have been taken into consideration for studying the relationship between connectedness and the viewership of the program as proposed by (Russell, Norman and Heckler, 2004):

  1. Escape
  2. Modeling
  3. Aspiration
  4. Imitation
  5. Fashion

The current media situation in Pakistan Entertainment sector is that producers of the dramas/soaps have an understanding of what the viewer wants to see. This comes from the high involvement of Pakistani viewer in the Indian dramas/soaps. Due to this producers are producing content that is in turn a copy of the Indian dramas/soaps.

If we see this from the perspective of a viewer there is lesser viewership of Pakistani entertainment channels as compared to Indian channels, then why is the producer producing such content? There is a gap in the understanding of the viewer and the producer of the dramas/soaps in Pakistan.

We can study this by studying the television viewing and the factors that are influencing the viewer to watch on program more than the other.

Connectedness is a newly developed construct of audience viewing behavior, and it proposed to be one of the important antecedents of audience satisfaction with positive relationships.

We will find out if the viewer is willing to watch any other content on the Pakistani channel and can relate to it.

In order to analyze the correlation between the connectedness and the frequency of viewership following Hypotheses are being proposed:

H1: Frequency of viewing a particular program has no relationship with the time spent in watching television.

H2: Frequency of viewing a particular program has no relation with the connectedness of the program

H3: Connection with the favorite particular program has no relationship with the number of hours an individual spends in front of a TV.


Television viewership

Robinson in his studies concluded that television appears to have a grater influence on the structure of daily life than any other innovation in this century (Gabriel Weimann, Hans-Bernd Brosius and Mallory, 1992).

Television has transformed the daily life of more people in this century then any other medium or invention. In a US poll, 68 percent reported that watching television was their main source of pleasure (Gabriel Weimann, Hans-Bernd Brosius and Mallory, 1992).

Children are watching television as a steady habit around the age of two and a half and a typical adult or child watching an average of two to three hours per day more time that they spend on any other activity except working and sleeping. No wonder that this powerful medium has become one of the principle vehicles of contemporary culture (Jeanette K. Chan, Marcia Ellis, and Auria Styles, 2005).

Through it, adults are thought to derive their images of actual and ideal reality and it also interacts with the children's developing perceptions of reality, both on a social and personal level (Jennifer M, Lawrie 1998).

The last decade had witnessed significant changes in the media system of many societies. The expansion of the cable television , direct broad casting satellites, teletext and other broadcast television joined existing competitors for viewers attention time, money and satisfaction.( Lin, Carolyn A. 1993).

Watching television is today more than ever a major feature of the modern life, capturing a significant slice of our leisure. This has led several scholars of mass communication to focus on television- its content, structure, usage as well as effects and control.

Media globalization: An Indian perspective

It is no exaggeration to say that the 1990s have been quite crucial to the transformation of Indian media networks and industries. Bear in mind that the Indian media scene for a long time was largely limited to national boundaries .To be sure, Indian cinema had dynamic regional distribution networks in Africa, South East Asia, the USSR and the Middle East, but here the cultural transmission of the Hindi film far outweighed any serious economic returns comparable to Hollywood, or what was to come in the 1990s. Television only took off after the 1980s, with a large state network that crisscrossed the country. The 1980s were in fact important as cassette culture transformed the music industry and broke the stranglehold of transnational music forms that had dominated the old LP record business. As Peter Manuel's work shows, cassette culture opened new markets, produced new artists and music forms, and hugely expanded the market (Ravi Sundaram, 2005).

Thus the media explosion of the 1990s, commonly going under the shorthand 'globalization', was not without a history, but was marked by a certain concentration of both media forms and temporal acceleration. Within a few years India saw satellite cable television growing from just a handful to a total of 80 channels, and the growth of other media in the form of cassettes, CDs, VCDs, MP3s, and DVDs. Media ownership was extremely diverse. New empires emerged from satellite television, moving into distribution, and later into film production. For the most part television distribution remained extremely fragmented; cable was largely retailed by smaller independent players in the neighborhoods. By the late 1990s, multi-service providers emerged, pushed by large television networks offering franchises to local players, but this only increased conflict at the local level between rival operators. For the most part cable distribution remains in the informal sector and a source of conflicts over intellectual property. In music a large new production network now exists in the informal sector, producing a range of remixes, religious, crossovers and versions of official film music. The larger companies have been hit hard by lowered costs of production and the ability of the small players to dynamically respond to musical tastes and produce new artistes. Film music, once a dominant part of the market (80%) has seen its share slipping slowly, at any rate copy culture makes market control impossible (Ravi Sundaram, 2005).

In the case of Bombay cinema, the scene remains confusing with the industry lurching from crisis to crisis. Most of the rhetoric seems to be against 'piracy' as a reason for losses, but the quality of scripts has been declining, a constant complaint in the industry. The crisis has led to a brief opening for new medium-budget productions with new stars and directors. In short, we can distinguish two layers in the contemporary landscape of media in India from the 1990s whose relationship can at best be described as porous. At one level are the new media empires: the corporate owners of satellite television channels, large software companies located in the techno-cities of Bangalore and Hyderabad, and the advertising companies in Bombay. The large software companies have been the most profitable in the stock market, and operate in real time with Western contractors, and employ thousands of programmers. The second level is the large and dynamic informal and often illegal media space of urban India, which has, for all practical purposes, retailed the new cultural constellation to the mass of citizens. This includes the thousands of small cable television networks, publicly operated phone booths in neighborhoods which number in their millions, street music sellers, pirate and non-copyright media producers, the large grey computer market, and public internet access points (Sonwalkar. Prasun, 2001).

In Delhi and in India generally, a significant part of the media experience of the 1990s came from networks that were part of this culture of the copy, a world that I have called pirate modernity. Pirate modern culture transformed production and circulation of commodities using the non-legal media copy as a general form for producing and reproducing objects in the city. In Delhi the media copy exists in a symbiotic relationship with all other commodities and industries: clothes, cosmetics, medicine, household goods, and also car and machine parts. As is evident, copy culture pits pirate modernity right into a global social conflict on definitions of property (Ninan, 2004).

Media and film research in India has now opened up to historical and contemporary studies, as well as an engagement of digital networks and the emerging industrial form of the media itself. Research is at a very early stage, but given the enormity of the task and a wide-ranging catalog of issues, some exciting interventions should be expected in the next few years (Ravi Sundaram, 2005).

An efflorescence of the media in India during the 1990s, mainly in television has revolutionized the south Asian mediascape. After the novelty of the foreign channels wore off in the early 1990s, Indian channels consolidated their position, recorded highest audience rating and forced foreign channels to adopt local programming in a big way. The late 1990s added a new dimension with language/region-specific channels. Besides, Indian media products are increasingly being viewed in terms of cultural imperialism within South Asia along the same lines that the western products were during 1960s-70s. India's media strengths and vibrancy appears to pose some challenge to the trope pf media imperialism (Prasun Sonwalkar, 2001).

The notion of media-scape as cultural "battle ground" is often evoked in economic terms, but this can well extend to politics as well, as the situation in South Asia suggests. For example, elites of Pakistan, Nepal Bangladesh and Sri Lanka not frequently speak of Indian cultural imperialism. Zee TV and Sony have penetrated into the upper middle class Pakistani homes as never before (Amit Baruah, 2000).

As Pakistan's information minister, Javed Jabbar, put in 'I am concerned about the influence of Indian satellite television on out people' (Sanjaya Baru, 2000).

Foreign channels like Rupert Murdoch's Star TV were first off the block in the early 1990s, but its initial apprehensions of a cultural invasion appeared misplaced as their viewership dwindled when local channels like Zee emerged. In 1992 viewers switched to channels with programs that were culturally closer. This is evident from the program-based viewer-ship pattern across eight major Indian cities. This in turn resulted in the failure of most foreign channels to make a good rating. Many viewers seemed to reject even pan-Indian channels like Doordarshan, Zee TV or Sony (Prasun Sonwalkar, 2001).

This has forced major foreign channels like Star TV to introduce Hindi language programming. According to BBC world's managing director, Patrick Cross, additional programs in Hindi were going to be introduced. This was the first time that BBC World was going in for regional language anywhere in the world (Anjan Mitra, 2000).

According to Peter Mukerjea (CEO, Star India), they had realized that they had to get into regional language programs in India and speak the language that the Indians were comfortable in (Anjan Mitra, 2000).

Furthermore, Star TV reoriented their programming by shifting popular English-language soaps like 'Baywatch' and 'Bold and the Beautiful' to Star world to make way for Hindi shows (Prasun Sonwalkar, 2001).

Doordarshan had a monopoly before 1991, but the growing popularity of satellite channels and the recent trends towards narrowcasting have affected its revenue even though it continued to record the largest viewership (Hasan Suroor, 2000).

In 1992, the Indians feared a cultural invasion, but it was an out-vasion which happened. Sony and Zee are shown in some African countries, in the Middle East, the UK and Europe, and Star Plus is beaming across Asia. Each one of them portrays what is relevant to Indians (Iqbal Malhotra, 2000).

Not only the entertainment channels but also the Indian news channels receive regular feedback in the newsroom from many viewers and politicians in Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, etc. who routinely call up newsrooms to comment on news stories on air or offer leads and suggestions for coverage (Prasun Sonwalkar, 2001).

In conclusion is can be said that, the western discourse of cultural/media imperialism comes in for a challenge even as 'national' continues to be a key determinant in the cultural landscape that's allows new language and regional strengths to emerge within and across nation states due to new media and strides in communications technology (Prasun Sonwalkar, 2001).

Soap Operas and Gossip

Soap operas are immensely popular cultural forms, attracting more than 10 million viewers everyday, the majority of which are females. From the economic point of view, they generate significant profits for the network (Hasan Suroor, 2000).

Despite their abilities to attract large number of audiences and to generate large profits, soap operas have long been seen as an object of derision. One of the criticisms leveled at soap operas is that they are slow-paced. Soap operas are complex, with large characters and plot lines which develop slowly over large periods of time. Viewers tend to get emotionally attached to the characters in a soap opera (Hasan Suroor, 2000).

Viewers themselves enter vicariously into the fictional soap opera community. There are many long-term viewers, some of whom have been watching soap operas for as long as 35 years. Soap operas are organized around a cylindrical cycle of the real world in which viewers live. The lives of characters run parallel to the lives of viewers in time. Thus it is the time not plot which comes to dominate the narrative process (Hasan Suroor, 2000).

The organization of time and the longevity of certain characters, allows the viewers to become very familiar with the character's histories, well beyond the time-frame of any one episode. These histories are reactivated in the minds of long-time viewers in scenes where the characters discuss the implications of a particular event or action. Scenes filled with gossip are in fact integral to how events on soap operas are interpreted by viewers (Hasan Suroor, 2000).

Gossip between characters n a soap opera to give the viewers a running commentary on the action, providing information and details about the latest intricacies of the plots. It helps bind together various plots and characters so that the viewers can interpret how an action will affect other characters not directly involved in the plot, giving a certain plot line a depth (Hasan Suroor, 2000).

The depth of this paradigmatic complexity is evident at a soap opera wedding, funeral, and other ceremonial events, allowing viewers to relive memorial events of their own minds.

Viewers of soap operas tend to discuss its characters as if they were real people and also tend to get personal about them (Hasan Suroor, 2000). The wider popularity of soap operas extends discussion beyond the television and into the categories through which people live through the dialogue they stimulate in the media. In these ways, we see that the "idle talk" (gossip) in and generated by soap operas has a greater impact on our lives then previously envisioned (Hasan Suroor, 2000).

Americans watch a lot of television; a study conducted in 1978 indicates that for a U.S. household, he television set is on an average of six hours and eleven minutes daily.

While TV Audience program preferences are reasonably well documented, the foundation for these preference lies in what the audience is offered. Thus, an understanding of the quantitative frequency and the qualitative content of what programs are available (the menu) is a prerequisite to a more complete comprehension and conceptualization of what the audience prefers.

Clearly, prime time is important to the network. The program lineups assembled for this time period have been contrived and designed to attract maximum viewership. Although fewer commercials minutes per hour are allowed in prime time, the actual dollars per second are much more valuable during these hours than any other times due to large number of viewers (Mazzarella, 2003).

For the network programmer, careful critical attention must be given to the strategic progression of the shows during the prime time. Successful television programming involves far more than merely arriving at come capricious sequence of program product. Of course, networks want to gather large, inert audience for their prime time line-ups. There is also a desire to constantly increase ones own audience size.

Television Audience Satisfaction

To help increase the effectiveness of television broadcasting and advertising, studies have been conducted on audience viewing behavior by investigating the antecedents and consequences of audience satisfaction of television programs.

Consumer satisfaction has long been recognized as a central concept as well as an important goal of all business activities (Anderson, Fornell, and Lehmann, 1994). High consumer satisfaction has many benefits for the firm, such as increased consumer loyalty, enhanced firm reputation, reduced price elasticity, etc. Realization of its importance has resulted in a proliferation of research on consumer satisfaction over the past few decades (Anton, 1997).

Considering television programs as products, media researchers study audience liking and satisfaction from the marketing perspective. The audience activity construct as an intervening factor in the gratification-seeking process and examines the viewing motives, activities, and satisfaction of adolescents (Lin, 1993).

The discriminant validity of connectedness was tested and concludes that connectedness is a separate and distinct construct compared with other constructs such as attitude toward the show, involvement, and overall TV viewing.

Besides studying audience satisfaction from the perspective of viewers' behavior, it is no doubt that TV programs' performance should play a role in audience satisfaction. Rather than studying the performance at product level, Gardial et al. (1994) point out that consumers are more likely to render evaluations of their post-purchase experience of satisfaction at an attribute level.

An attribute-based approach enables researchers to conceptualize commonly observed phenomena, such as consumers experiencing mixed feelings toward a product or service. An attribute-level approach to satisfaction affords managers a higher level of specificity and diagnostic usefulness compared with the product level or overall approach. The relationship between products' attribute-level performance and overall satisfaction has been studied by many marketing researchers (Mittal, Ross, and Baldasare, 1998; Oliva, Oliver, and Bearden, 1995). When adopting such a concept on an audience satisfaction study, we can say that a TV program's performance at attribute level is one of the important antecedents of audience satisfaction.

When examining the theoretical and analytical importance of the link between attribute-level performance and overall satisfaction, it is important to recognize that the relationship could be asymmetric according to the well-known prospect theory (Kahneman and Tversky, 1979), which postulates that people's judgments display "loss aversion". Psychologically, a one-unit loss is weighted more than an equal amount of gain. On the basis of this theory, we propose:

Connectedness is a newly developed construct of audience viewing behavior, and it is proposed to be one of the important antecedents of audience satisfaction with positive relationship. Study confirms the validity of connectedness and supports it as an antecedent of audience satisfaction.

Behavioral measures of television audience appreciation

Research on audience reactions to television programs dates back to the 1960s. Various private research firms and public broadcasters have, over the years, produced their own appreciation measures in an attempt to supplement audience-size measures, by measuring viewer attitudes to, preferences for, and involvement levels with programs (Kent, 1994; Windle and Landy, 1996).

In the United States, Television Audience Assessment Inc. (TAA, 1984) was set up specifically to market measures of audience reactions to the television networks and advertisers. A weekly viewing diary measured the appeal of programs (a personal program rating on a five-point scale) and the impact of programs (Kent, 1994; Windle and Landy, 1996).

Many countries including Pakistan now operate a people-meter panel for television-audience measurement. This method is technically more sophisticated than diaries and is better at capturing viewing of small channels and day-time and late-night viewing (Beed, 1992). However, people meters demand that panelists log in and out with a remote control when they start and stop watching television, and this is not always done correctly (Danaher and Beed, 1993.

While people meters have the capability to record second-by-second ratings, most ratings suppliers distribute minute-by-minute ratings (Danaher, 1995). The concept behind the two behavioral measures of audience appreciation is that "viewers vote with their feet." That is, if you do not particularly like a show then in all likelihood you will change channels or switch the set off. With the widespread prevalence of remote controls, changing channels is effortless for most viewers.

Investigations of overall television viewing patterns have found that viewers tend to be loyal to specific channels and programs (Zubayr, 1999), they came up with results on the importance of content to viewers' choices. Many studies have concluded that viewers of one program are not likely to watch another program of the same type (Webster & Lichty, 1991).

Television culture leads to a focus on audience segmentation that is based on programming aimed at specific demographic groups. If segmentation strategies are effective, the abundance of channels may allow programmers to appeal to smaller but more loyal segments of the audience and therefore to increase channel loyalty. If channels succeed in appealing to the tastes of specific groups, this implies that a viewer watching a show on a given channel is more likely to view other programs on the same channel. The second hypothesis of this study, then, predicts channel loyalty.

Television viewing behavior reflects on factors such as group viewing, availability of shows and channels at the time the viewer is ready to watch, and the degree to which a viewer is aware of all his or her choices (Webster & Lichty, 1991).


Connectedness characterizes the intensity of the relationship(s) that viewers develop with television programs and their characters. Despite their fictional nature, television characters may indeed appear as real people to viewers (Fiske, 1992). The potential influence of TV characters as referent others makes it important for consumer researchers to confine the degree to which consumers develop relationships with the characters in TV programs and to study how those relationships influence consumers' experiences.

At one end of the connectedness spectrum, a TV program may be viewed simply as a form of mindless entertainment. Viewers may feel positively toward the program and be attentive when watching it, but the extent of their connection stops there. At the other end of the spectrum, TV programs and their characters can become an obsession with which viewers constantly interact and around which they model their lives. Like traditional consumer-brand relationships, consumer-program relationships evolve over time and may generate feelings of commitment, intimacy, and affective attachments with the program (Fournier, 1998).

Further, as the line that separates program from promotional content becomes increasingly blurry it has become increasingly important to study not just how much television people watch or how much they like the programs but also how much they relate to the situations and characters in those programs and how such referential relationships affect their own consumption experiences (Shrum, 2003).

Understanding television viewing and its consequences on the audience is of great importance to consumer researchers because of various effects that television programming has on consumers' lives. First, TV programs remain a major context for advertising messages and, as such, can generate certain emotional responses or feeling states or certain liking responses that affect the impact of the messages placed within it. In both of these cases, the focus is placed on the effect of program context on evaluations of commercials or on recall for commercials.

TV programs themselves are influential because they depict and even model a myriad of consumption-relevant phenomena, such as the structure of family life, social roles, lifestyles and subcultures, or issues of gender, race, and class. Psychological effects of the programs themselves have only been studied in terms of the quantity of television viewing. Such studies show that the effects of heavy versus light viewing of a program on perceptions of real world phenomena (O'Guinn and Shrum, 1997) can be explained by the frequency of exposure to television exemplars. More specifically, the more someone is exposed to television images, the more accessible that information is in memory and the more it becomes a heuristic when making social judgments (Shrum, Wyer, and O'Guinn, 1998).

Such relationships emerge because of the para-social interaction process that may develop between the viewers and the characters portrayed in their TV programs. Because TV characters appear to live in similar time scales to their audience and exceed their textual existence (Fiske, 1992), they may become referent others to the viewers. As referent others, characters provide strong models for viewers that become a reference point of identification a source of social comparison and inspiration for goals that consumers choose to work toward. As a result, strong relationships may form between the viewers and the television characters that resemble interpersonal relationships. These behavioral modeling effects are especially powerful because the dramatic nature of TV programming elicits expressions of feeling and verisimilitude rather than the counter argumentation usually associated with advertising (Hirschman and Thompson, 1997).

Recognizing the limitations of current television audience measures, introduced the construct of connectedness as a richer indicator of the nature and intensity of the relationship(s) between a viewer and a TV show. They proposed that connectedness extends beyond the mere viewing experience by capturing the extent to which a TV program contributes to a viewer's self and social identity. Although their qualitative investigation provides strong conceptual support for the introduction of connectedness and its contribution to the study of television consumption, there remains a need to develop an instrument to measure the construct and to inscribe it in a nomological network. Our literature review has reiterated the fact that a measure of TV program connectedness must extend beyond the emotional arousal and attention intensity of the viewing experience and capture the para-social relationships viewers create with their TV programs and the characters in those programs. (Russell and Puto, 1999)

A highly connected spectator has a deeper, more cherished relationship with the characters, which can take time to develop. Whereas a person could develop a positive attitude toward a program in a short period of time, or even a single viewing, the increase of connectedness may need multiple viewings, to allow the relationship to progress from lower to higher levels of closeness. Although a positive attitude toward a program may mediate the development of connectedness, it does not confine the fact that such para-social relationships would emerge.

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