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Sunday, September 28 • 15:16 - 15:35
"Social Media and Television Analysis: Integrating Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches"

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Background: The proliferation of social media has radically transformed the media landscape, establishing complex interactions between TV audience and Internet users. The analysis of these intricate relations provides a fundamental understanding of emerging patterns of media consumption and production. Researchers exploring the extent and consequences of these changes, are often faced with crucial methodological challenges.

Objective: The paper offers an innovative methodology combining quantitative and qualitative approaches to explore the connections between social media and television from a socio-semiotic perspective. Based on a case analysis, the paper examines the interactions between social media and TV fiction in order to provide researchers with new methods to understand emerging patterns of media consumption and production. The methodology developed is focused in two main areas: a) the analysis of the available resources on the Internet; and b) social media dialogues.

Methods:  The case study comprises the analysis of 515 resources from 84 TV shows, and 7,840 comments made by 6,392 Internet users and 1,448 community managers in Facebook, Twitter and Internet forums. The statistical program SPSS, complemented with a descriptive database, was used to collect and provide quantitative data to analyze the Internet resources. This information was then analyzed from a socio-semiotic perspective in order to provide a contextualized overview of the TV fiction resources available on the Internet. In order to examine the discourses of Internet users, a series of socio-semiotic categories were implemented through Atlas.ti by applying 16,765 tags. Although built ad-hoc for specific projects, such categories constitute excellent examples of how to analyze large amounts of qualitative information and integrate the results with quantitative data.  

Results:  The analysis shows that Internet resources tend to be part of a coherent transmedia strategy, often orchestrated by TV networks and producers in order to increase the profitability of their shows. Online conversations are shaped as a “long tail” (Anderson, 2006), with two main topics (story and characters) and dozens of less frequent questions ranging from personal issues to aesthetics, among several others.

Conclusions: By combining quantitative and qualitative approaches, this ground-breaking methodology outlines, not only emerging media consumption trends, but also new production strategies. It provides a comprehensive system to analyze interactions between old and new media, while focusing on the social aspect of communication.  

Anderson, C. (2006). The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More. New York, NY: Hyperion Books.


Charo Lacalle

Autonomous University of Barcelona

Sunday September 28, 2014 15:16 - 15:35
TRS 1-149 Ted Rogers School of Management

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