Diversity of Exposure in Television Viewing: Audience Fragmentation and Polarization in Guangzhou
journal contributionposted on 12.11.2013, 00:00 authored by Elaine J. Yuan
Chinese television has gone through tremendous growth and change recently. The new media environment has the potential to reshape patterns of television consumption and, in turn, affect the democratic development of Chinese society. This study examines audience fragmentation and polarization, two measures of diversity of exposure, in Guangzhou by conducting a secondary analysis of people meter data. The results show that structural changes have increased the degree of audience fragmentation and polarization in Guangzhou. Most notably, the rapid development of both overseas and local television services has greatly diminished the audience for national, government operated channels in the market. Overall, though, patterns of audience fragmentation and polarization are more limited than analogous audience behaviors reported in the West. Guangzhou audiences still concentrate on popular programs with general appeals and show very little evidence of forming into “enclaves” (Sunstein, 2001) that confine their television consumption to a limited diet of like-minded speech.