The X Factor of opportunity structures: How grab and wrap effects of entertainment create inadvertent news audience in a high-choice media environment

Kim Andersen, Morten Skovsgaard, Rasmus Tue Pedersen

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Abstract

In today’s high-choice media environments, newscasts increasingly compete for viewers against multiple entertainment options. This development has led to concerns over the demise of inadvertent news audiences, which is especially problematic for public service broadcasters who have an obligation to provide news to all segments of the population. However, this study demonstrates how entertainment shows can be used to create a favourable opportunity structure that generates substantial inadvertent news audiences. Using Danish TV meter data from 2008 to 2016, we show that scheduling the music talent show The X Factor before and after the newscast on the main public service channel increased news audiences dramatically. These ‘grab’ and ‘wrap’ effects of entertainment were particularly strong among young people and people with low news interest, and the effects became even stronger over time. Consequently, entertainment shows, indirectly, play a positive democratic role, by increasing the viewership of newscasts.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Communication
Volume34
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)535–551
ISSN0267-3231
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1. Oct 2019

Keywords

  • Entertainment
  • inadvertent audience
  • incidental exposure
  • news
  • public service broadcasting

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