Media as the Main Sources of Entertainment

Time is considered a straightforward budgetary allocation problem.  We have twenty-four hours a day within our budget, and we have to allocate these hours for different types of activities.  Some of these activities are unavoidable physical activities, such as sleeping and personal hygiene.  And many of us also find that we have to work in order to earn money to cover our expenditures.  The residual time left to us is discretionary in nature.  There are some who would devote any time left to charitable and humanitarian acts.  But it would seem that the majority of the people much of their discretionary time towards the pursuit of leisure activities 

In contemporary society, there is an astonishing array of entertainment options --- sports, movies, parks, museums, television, radio, magazines, bars, eateries, nightclubs, theaters, etc.  All these entertainment options compete against each other.  The preference of a consumer for any entertainment option is guided by the value that the consumer assigns.  In a previous paper, Television As The Main Source of Entertainment, we had dealt with the demographic characteristics of those who regarded television as their main source of entertainment.  There, we had found that television is more likely to be main source of entertainment for the very young and the very old, for the poor and for the less educated ones.

For this article, we take a comparative approach whereby we look at television, radio as well as magazines at the same time.  We will took at the TGI Chile survey, which is a survey of 2,004 persons between the ages of 12 to 64 years old interviewed during the first half of 2002 in the Gran Santiago area.  Within this survey, we found

In the next chart, we show the distribution by socio-economic level.  The pattern is quite consistent across all media, wherein the entertainment value is perceived to be less among the higher socio-economic classes.  To a very large extent, the broadcast media have achieved their immense popularity by being essentially free (except for the price of a receiving device).  By comparison, other sources of entertainment such as movies, theaters, operas, nightclubs and so on may be quite expensive.

(Source: TGI Chile 2002)

In the next chart, we show the incidences by age sex groups.  For the broadcast media, the highest responses come from the very young and the old.  That is to say, the lowest incidences occur among those in their twenties.  These are people who are leaving the shelter of their homes and finding a new and exciting world out there.  The last thing that they want is to stay home and watch more television or listen to more radio.  In the case of magazines, we find that women 20-24 actually find magazines to be a source of entertainment, as this matches their social values.

(Source: TGI Chile 2002)

It should be axiomatic that people would spend more time with the things that they like and enjoy.  In the next chart, we show the incidences cross-classified by the amount of each media used.  For television, we measured the amount of television watched on a typical weekday between the prime hours of 8pm to 10pm.  For radio, we asked the number of days that radio is listened to during a typical week.  For magazines, we ask the number of weeklies, the number of biweeklies and the number of monthlies read.

For each medium, the trend is clear.  For television, the incidence increased monotonically as a function of the number of hours of television viewed.  For radio, the incidence increased monotonically as a function of the number of days in which radio was listened to.  For magazines, the incidence increased monotonically as a function of the number of magazines read.

(Source: TGI Chile 2002)

(posted by Roland Soong, 11/02/2002)

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