How keeping up diversifies: Watching public affairs TV in the Netherlands 1988-2010

Anke Wonneberger*, Klaus Schoenbach, Lex van Meurs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Although concerns have been raised that political infotainment programmes might increasingly substitute more serious information, empirical evidence about changes of individual viewing behaviour is scarce. The authors discuss audience specialization and diversification as two opposing patterns of audience response to a growing variety of public affairs programmes. While specialization results from selective programme choice, diversification may be furthered by the impact of situational factors. Using electronically recorded people-meter data, this study explores information viewing in the Netherlands over the last two decades. As opposed to concerns about audience fragmentation, the authors find that public affairs viewing has become more diverse on the individual level with entertaining information programmes used as an additional source of information. Dutch viewers were exposed to different public affairs information. The personal relevance of TV as a medium is one of the main drivers behind high levels of exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)646-662
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal of Communication
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Audience fragmentation
  • infotainment
  • news exposure
  • people-meter data
  • public affairs TV

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics


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