Research aim and significance
This study examines voting – a feature of interaction and engagement of audience with reality television. The study aims to investigate which factors influencing on television viewers’ decision to vote and also provide an exploration on their psychological side which may be vital for understanding their interactive behaviors. In the context of greater interaction between the programs and its audiences has been stimulating by television producers, it is significant to research this interactive form of reality television that encourages deeper audience participation.
The findings of this study offer view on multiple sides involving opportunies and challenges for broadcast media companies and digital platform partners to exploit audience participation for the purposes of profit and the strategic expansion to multi-platform formats.
Literature Review and Theory
Since the very first reality show launching in 1990, the reality genre has rapidly developed to become the most popular experience of television nowadays. A plethora of research has been undertaking in recent years to identify the origin of reality shows’ appeal which concentrated mainly on the psychological side such as the theory of human motivations called ‘16 basic desires’ which linking the most fundamental purposes of human life to aspirations with their attention to media conducted by Reiss and Wiltz (2004) or the element of mastery sense named ‘schadenfreude’ introduced by Hall (2006).
More recent studies in the last decade have focused on the power relation between the media and their publics as a key factor contributing to the growth of the reality television around the world, based on the concept of ‘audience activity’ which illustrates the level of selection when people use media and the level of involvement with the content (Rubin, 1993). Unlike many traditional television programs that only focus on the content without paying attention on audience interaction, reality program really provide the audience a participatory mode in which they are invited to influence the program’s story (Godlewski & Perse, 2010; Enli & Ihlebæk, 2011). In its most famous form (in such series as Big Brother, The X Factor, Idol and The Voice), reality television has been transformed into interactive cross-platform media experience, soliciting direct audience participation, by telephone and the use of interactive functions of digital technology (Charles, 2012). Griffen-Foley (2004) argued that all of these media outlets have sought to attend their consumers as ‘textual actors’ which boosted the perception of engagement and generate a ‘loyal community’ of audience. Among them, voting is assigned as a prominent and lucrative option of viewer feedback, particularly in talent-based reality shows (Enli & Ihlebæk, 2011).
Godlewski and Perse (2010) developed the theory of audience activity to scrutinize the relationship between viewing motivations, recognition of the...