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Linear and Non-linear Television from Viewers’ Perspective

Linear and Non-linear Television from Viewers’ Perspective

Among the substantial changes of television in digital media environments is the opportunity for viewers to retrieve audiovisual contents through the TV set or other receivers at any time, and thereby becoming independent from linear TV programmes and using TV offerings when it suits their individual interest and everyday life best. The redemption from linear programming opens many opportunities to viewers – from the reception of a programme time-displaced only by a few minutes to repeat consumption of a favourite movie that was recorded some time ago. The boundaries between different forms of TV use are blurring, with their remote control viewers can easily change between a running programme, on demand services or recorded programmes.

Hence questions arise on which occasion and with what motivation viewers change from linear to non-linear offerings – and vice versa – and how the various forms of usage differ from the audience’s perspective. Those questions are particularly significant for public TV broadcasters, because it depends on the answers which forms of offering and presentation of audiovisual services are regarded as “television” and are therewith undisputably part of the public programming mandate or as supplementary teleservices. Also for the evaluation of a programme’s success, reasonable criteria are required, which uses of a broadcast programme can be attributed to te programme.

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Project Description

In an expert report for the ZDF (second channel of German television broadcasting), the Institute reviewed the state of research on the handling of linear and non-linear audiovisual services and presented conceptual thoughts on the question how the relation between both forms can be captured empirically. The expert report initially contains conceptual preliminary considerations on the distinction and structuring of the subject matter. In a second step, the available research approaches and empirical findings, which inform about the relation of linear and non-linear services, are outlined. Step three unites the conceptual considerations and empirical findings to classify user modes which have to be differentiated when dealing with linear and non-linear services. Conclusively, further surveys are suggested, which are suitable to take a closer look at the relation of different forms of linear and non-linear TV usage.

Project Information


Duration: 2009-2009

Research programme:
Further Projects

Involved persons

Prof. em. Dr. Uwe Hasebrink

Third party

Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF)

Cooperation Partner

Studentische Mitarbeiter/in: Norman Müller, Hasmik Episkoposian

Contact person

Prof. em. Dr. Uwe Hasebrink

Prof. em. Dr. Uwe Hasebrink

Leibniz-Institut für Medienforschung │ Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI)
Rothenbaumchaussee 36
20148 Hamburg

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