New publication on television viewing from a longitudinal perspective

This new manuscript by Maurice Vergeer (RU), Rob Eisinga (RU) and Philip Hans Franses (EUR) was just published online in Communications – The European Journal of Communication Research.
Below is the complete reference and the abstract. Click on the title and you’ll be directed to the journal’s page.

Vergeer, M., Eisinga, R. & Franses, Ph.H. (2012). Supply and demand effects in television viewing. A time series analysis. Communications – The European Journal of Communication Research, 37, 79-98.


In this study we analyze daily data on television viewing in the Netherlands. We postulate hypotheses on supply and demand factors that could impact the amount of daily viewing time. Although the general assumption is that supply and demand often correlate, we see that for television this is only marginally the case. Especially diversity of program supply, often deemed very important in media markets, does not affect (positively or negatively) television viewing behavior. Most variation in television viewing can be attributed to habit and to regular events (e. g. weekends, Christmas) and to unexpected events (e. g. the 9/11 WTC attack). We also find that weather conditions interact with program types, so that, for example, in winter times people favor entertainment programs even more, suggesting that people use television for mood management.

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.