it’s almost like Christmas

Two chapters I co-authored were published in a book this week. The first one (Vergeer, Coenders  & Scheepers, 2009) focuses on explaining the time people spend on watching TV. The interesting point about this study that explanations are not only sought at the individual level (especially in terms of alternative ways to spend time) but also at the level of the television system (i.e. tv program diversity, number of commercial and PSB channels, the budget). The study uses multi level analysis to test the hypotheses. Here is the abstract:

This study aims to explain the variation in time spent on watching television in 15 European Union countries, using determinants defined at the individual level, and characteristics defined at the national level, such as the number of channels and nature of the television supply. The results of the multi-level analysis show that the number of channels in countries has no effect on time spent on television. Yet, the more diverse the program supply on public broadcasting channels in different countries, the less time people spend on watching television. However, this relation decreases when more commercial channels are available to watch. This suggests that EU citizens, having commercial channels as alternatives, avoid a diverse program supply in favor of commercial program supply.

The second chapter Westerik, Hollander, Verschuren & Vergeer, 2009) in the same volume, deals with community involvement and media use.

Full references:

  • Vergeer, M., Coenders, M. & Scheepers, P. (2009). Time spent on television in European countries. In R.P. Konig, P.W.M. Nelissen, & F.J.M. Huysmans (Eds.), Meaningful media: Communication Research on the Social Construction of Reality (54-73). Nijmegen, The Netherlands: Tandem Felix.
  • Westerik, H., Hollander, E., Verschuren, P. J. M., & Vergeer, M. (2009). Media use and community involvement: A theoretical and meta-analytical review. In R. P. Konig, P. W. M. Nelissen, & F. J. M. Huysmans (Eds.), Meaningful media: Communication research on the social construction of reality (pp. 38-53). Nijmegen, The Netherlands: Tandem Felix.

    Google redressed

    Well, here are two screen-shots from today’s Google search pages.


    The first one is the one that is available in all countries: the virgin white screen which offers some more options the moment you use the mouse or the keyboard. It’s the Google as we know it.

    However, as we know, Google has some problems to get a strong foothold in South Korea: its 2.2% share on the search engine market is somewhat disappointing. Therefore Google Korea decided to localize the search engine’s homepage. In doing so they try to create a more viable portal for Koreans to start their journey onto the web.


    Wait a minute, I’ve heard this before. Remember when MTV was putting out the same show in all countries? It was successful for some time. But then competition increased. The next thing all countries started to develop their localized versions of MTV: local presenters, native language and local performers. This move seemed quite successful to retain a large local audience.

    This shows that, in the world of global media, local cultures are still quite persistent. A comforting thought… The question is when Google will follow Korea’s example in other countries.

    Finding your way in Korean cyberspace

    Search engines are the portals to the web. Who has the largest market share of web visitors controls people’s way into the ever expanding meta-verse (this is how Neal Stephenson called a virtual world not unlike the web, but more intricate). As a westerner you think the greatest players on this search engine market are Google by Google and Bing by Microsoft, and Yahoo as well. Not so in South Korea.


    In South Korea, Google is just a minor player. Google Korea has a market share of appr. 2.2%. So, not that special. Then recently, they lost Daum’s major advertisement contract  to competitor Yahoo.

    Apparently, as a last effort to increase the market share Google’s virginal search page will be revamped with news and information, blogs and photo’s. Is this a desperate last effort to have a viable Google outlet in South Korea, or is this an indication that a global mogul cannot stand it being tiny in one country?

    Although Korea is a significant market, one could question why Google wants to put so much effort in increasing their market share. It’ll be more and more difficult, because the third largest search engine operator Nate (owner of Cyworld) restyled its portal, by incorporating the Cyworld logon screen onto the search page. Doing so they hope to increase traffic on their website. The ultimate goals is to take over the number 2 position from Daum.

    A few things are clear. Google is not always successful. Google will localize their search page in other countries, when they need to (for whatever reason). Google will stay tiny, unless Korean industry innovates to other and new platforms. If Google wants to win over Korean hearts, it’s best they focus on Google Chrome OS, thereby creating a new following on the search engine market, and freeing Koreans from the dominant power of Microsoft. However, I think this will take quite some time.