Young People’s Consumption of Television Fiction in New Zealand: A Preliminary Study

TitleYoung People’s Consumption of Television Fiction in New Zealand: A Preliminary Study
Publication TypeConference Paper
Author(s)Fedele, M.
Affiliation (1st Author)Department of Communication, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain
Section or WGAudience Section
DateThurs 27 June
Slot CodeAUDT3a
Slot Code (Keyword)AUDT3a
Time of Session14:00-15:30
Session TitleYouth Media Consumption: Behaviour and Practice II
Submission ID5904

This paper presents the main findings of an exploratory research on young New Zealanders’ consumption of television fiction programs. The study was carried out at the School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies of Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand), in the context of a wider research realised within the GRISS research team of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain). A significant body of literature has revealed the importance of television fiction in young people’s media consumption and life (e.g., Von Feilitzen, 2004). In fact, despite the growing importance of new media, television continues to have a central role in the socialising process in our societies, especially in relation to young people. Media products in general and television fiction programs in particular offer models and representations of the world, and represent a powerful and preferential source for the conveyance and acquisition of social roles, knowledge, expectations and behaviour, and for the building of individual and collective identities (Gerbner et al., 1980; Arnett et al., 1995; Gerbner et al., 2002; Lauzen, Dozier and Horan, 2008, among others). Furthermore, in the current media scenario, characterised by digitalisation, convergence, cross-media, hybridisation and globalisation, new typologies of television consumption coexist with more traditional ones (Caldwell, 2004; Spigel and Olsson, 2004; Carlsson, 2006). This is especially true for young people, who have grown up in a changing and complex media environment, and are multitask users and multimedia consumers who usually practise a media bedroom culture (Drotner, 2000; La Ferle et al., 2001; Livingstone et al., 2001; Ekström and Tufte, 2007; Jordan et al., 2007; Vanderwater and Lee, 2009). Despite this, a certain scarcity of specific studies in the New Zealander context has to be noticed. For this reason, this study aimed to identify the key-factors of young New Zealanders’ consumption of television fiction programs and to compare the data obtained with those from previous research carried out in other industrialised countries. The method consisted in a questionnaire about television fiction reception habits and preferences, administered to a convenience sampling of two hundred and twenty-five first-year VUW students (x=18,94). Among the main results, young New Zealanders’ preferences for US drama series, for mystery/suspense, love and friendship plots, and for funny, intelligent and good-looking characters can be stressed. Also their multimedia and multitasking consumption strategies must be highlighted, as they watch fiction programs through different media, such as the TV set, the DVD and the Internet, and they mostly carry out simultaneous activities while watching them. Finally, their most valued motivations for watching television fiction programs have resulted to be entertainment, escapism and social uses.

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