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Personal Primetime is Here!

Thanks to everyone who took my survey, did an interview, kept a journal, helped get the word out about this project, or otherwise supported me in this research. The paper is up!

Official abstract:

Not all that long ago, there was just one main way to watch television: Turn on the set, sit down in front of it, and watch what was on. Today, though, watching television can have multiple meanings. Looking at the expanding number of viewing technologies that allow television content to be viewed at various times and on various screens, some have suggested that viewers now have near-total freedom to choose what, where, when, and how they watch television. But in a universe of greater choice, how do viewers make sense of their options? Through interviews with 16 television fans, this study seeks to uncover and understand the constellation of factors that affect how viewers decide which primetime television shows to watch and where and when to watch them. This paper discusses a number of these influences, including a complicated web of content rights and restrictions; the potential for conversation with a viewer’s peers; and personal preferences for watching television in particular ways and on particular screens. Using this information, potential future directions for television innovations are discussed and evaluated.

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Call for Participants

Hi! I'm Kimra, and I'm a master's student at the UC Berkeley School of Information researching television, time, and conversation. Specifically, I'm conducting a series of interviews in the spring of 2011 looking at how people decide what TV shows to watch in a world where technology can largely free us from the broadcast TV schedule.

I would like to talk to a range of people about their TV viewing habits, from hardcore fans with DVRs hovering at 99% full to casual viewers who check shows out on Hulu every now and then. If you ever watch TV, and if you ever talk about it online or off, I'm interested in hearing from you.

I'd especially like to talk to people who live in the San Francisco Bay Area, but Skype interviews could work in a pinch. I would also love to find some people willing to log their TV viewing and the conversations they have about television — but that's not a requirement of participating in an interview.

Interested in helping me out or learning more about the project? Please fill out the form below so I know how to contact you, and I'll be in touch. You can also e-mail me with any questions or access the form at this link.


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About Kimra

Kimra McPherson is a master's student at UC Berkeley's School of Information and a former professional television blogger. Learn more about her or follow her on Twitter.