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Social TV: Second Screen and Audience Participation
Language: English This thesis is written in English
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Alessia Borgomastro, Erasmus Univeristy Rotterdam, 2015-16
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The vast popularity of social networks and mobile devices has led to a transformation of television, called Social television. Specifically, due to technological innovations, both public and commercial broadcasters are trying to respond through developing cross-media processes, expanding the actual content of their TV shows on social media (García-Avilés, 2012). They increasingly provide a growing level of interactivity, which enhance online audience participation in a variety of ways. In fact, social media allows a wide range of possible interactions, such as sharing, commenting, liking etc. While previous studies have documented audience perception of the integration of social networking sites into television contents, employing vary techniques of analysis (e.g., quantitative descriptive statistics, social network analysis etc.) with the focus on the frequency of tweets, qualitative investigations about audience’s opinions have not been adequately addressed to this day. In this thesis, the dimensions of Italian audience participation on social media was explored. In particular, if and to what extent viewers of a certain TV show are engaged in online interaction with the content and with other viewers and how do they participate. I do so by examining the Italian version of the talent show The voice and its media platforms. The literature review discussed comprehends relevant theories about the topic of Social TV, which partly helped to guide the analysis. A qualitative analysis approach based on the conduction of focus groups was applied. Then a thematic analysis method was used to analyse the data and answer the research questions. In analysing the social media use of the audience, I identified five main themes, namely: program perception, perception of online content, information seeking patterns, communication patterns, motivations to interact. The findings of the research suggest that viewers of the TV show are not as engaged on social media as literature claims, the relationship between Italian audiences and broadcasters is still weak. However, media field is constantly changing and especially in the Italian television and media system there is a lot of room for improvement in the ability of broadcaster of engaging viewers. Online participation initiatives need to increase their efficiency and transparency with more clearly identified goals and following the taste of audiences. Hereby, this research will have a direct implication on the way audience perceive the online content and it can be considered as the first step in a larger one to develop and evaluate the interaction dynamics through second screen between audiences and TV shows.