Uses of research in analysing TV viewing audience

Measuring television audience can be challenging but it is essential, as it helps to gain a better understanding of viewers’ engagement towards the television and what are their behavioural patterns when watching a television show. The information collected provides media companies and business owners to make the right planning for a specific marketing towards the targeted audiences. (Nielsen, 2015)

One of the biggest obstacles of measuring television viewing is the largely dispersed audience fragmentation. The quantitative research is commonly utilized since it “allows generalization to a broader population”. (Rhodes, 2014)As further explained by Dr. Ben-Eliyahu (2014) in The Chronicle of Evidence-Based Mentoring, the quantitative approach is “to gathering information focuses on describing a phenomenon across a larger number of participants thereby providing the possibility of summarizing characteristics across groups or relationships. This approach surveys a large number of individuals and applies statistical techniques to recognize overall patterns in the relations of processes.” The information gathered is collectively fundamental for establishing an empirical set of evidence.

Nonetheless, this research may give an indistinct observation on television audience measurement, as it does not entirely infiltrate a television viewing mannerism.

Another method for measuring television audience is the qualitative approach. As referred in Occupy Theory (2014), qualitative approach research “is a general term pertaining to investigative methodologies and techniques described as naturalistic, ethnographic, field, anthropological or observer research.” It mainly evaluates the basis or underlying motivations of the features or elements found in a natural setting. Through this method, media owners can truly identify and define the characteristics of their television audiences.

Of course, this method has its limitations. Much effort and time are required to conduct such experiment on a number of correspondents for accumulating a more accurate and specific data materials.

Photo: Sridhar Chimalakonda
Photo: Sridhar Chimalakonda

However, today with the emergence of the Internet and smartphones, the assessment of television audience becomes complicated. As Chmielewski (2013) explains, “for millions of U.S. consumers, one screen in the living room is not enough”. “60% of American television viewers are devoted multitaskers, watching TV and accessing the Internet at the same time.” Thereafter, both quantitative and quantitative researches are substantial in the certain parts of studying television audiences. As both methods complements each other, this compasses a more detailed and relevant understanding on television consumers.

As technology is constantly evolving, the way of measuring television audience is changing accordingly too. Asquith (2014) expresses, “this transition is occurring with the development of hybrid measurement techniques, exploiting the complementary strengths of carefully-managed, representative panels of the viewing population and the detail that comes from big, behavioural data.” As it happens, television measurement should apply a balancing act for a better understanding towards the audience.

Photo: Webfosys
Photo: Webfosys


Asquith, R 2014, ‘Why multi-screen television moves the audience measurement goalposts’, The Guardian, accessed 4/9/2015,

Chmielewski , DC 2013, ‘Study: Majority of consumers watch TV and surf Web simultaneously’ , Los Angeles Times, accessed 4/9/2015,

Nielsen n.d., accessed 4/9/2015,

Occupy Theory 2014, ‘Advantages and Disadvantages of Qualitative Research’, accessed 4/9/2015,

Rhodes, J 2014, ‘On Methods: What’s the difference between qualitative and quantitative approaches?’, The Chronicle of Evidence-Based Mentoring, accessed 4/9/2015,


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