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Television and the Viewer Interest

Television and the Viewer Interest

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Television and the Viewer Interest

Explorations in the Responsiveness of European Broadcasters

Edited by: Jeremy Mitchell, Jay G Blumler, Philippe Mounier, Anja Bundschuh

Publication date: 1994
Total pages: 272
ISBN: 1 86196 440 3
Price: £ 16.95


How do television broadcasters take account of the interests and needs of viewers? What are they required to do by laws and regulations? What do they do of their own initiative? How do they respond to the attitudes and opinions of individual consumers and to growing pressures viewer and consumer groups?
Television and the Viewer Interest is a comparative European analysis of the current situation and possible future developments in the Czech and Slovak Republics, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom. Each national chapter is written by a specialist from the country concerned and is based on replies to questionnaires sent to government and regulatory bodies, public and private television broadcasting organisations, and viewer and consumer groups.
The issues covered include the political and regulatory accountability of broadcasters and the use of consultative and advisory bodies, as well as their responsiveness to the wishes of advertisers, sensitivity to press comment, use of audience research and direct audience feedback, and reactions to the increasingly well-organised respresentation of viewers' interests. These topics are analysed from three different perspectives - the broadcasters themselves, regulatory bodies and viewer and consumer groups.
The conclusion of Television and the Viewer Interest is that neither the 'public service' nor the 'market' approach to television is enough in itself to ensure that viewers interests are taken into account. None of the countries taking part in the project has found the perfect solution, but there is a surprisingly long and varied list of innovations which aim to improve the situation. These provide a practical guide to a future in which the interests of viewers will be an increasingly important factor in decisions about broadcasting policy and practice.


Jeremy Mitchell (UK) is an indepenedent consumer policy advisor and Jay G Blumler (UK) is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Leeds.

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