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Den föreställda publiken: programpolitik, publikbilder och tilltalsformer i svensk public service-television
Stockholm University.
2000 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
The imagined audience : programming policies, images of the audience and modes of address in Swedish public service television (English)
Abstract [en]

The main purpose of my thesis is to study Swedish public service television's relation to the audience in the light of three historical phases: The monopolistic system with one channel, the two-channel system with internal competition and the multi channel system with external competition. One starting-point is the notion that it is primarily this series of changes that has determined the external framework for public service televisions relation to the audience. Another is that this relation is expressed at different but connected levels. First, through the TV institution's discursive conceptions of the audience, and second, through programming, which establishes in various ways, concrete contact with the viewers. The audience is addressed indirectly via the overall programming, such that, e.g., the distribution and placement of programs imply intentions in relation to the audience. Looking at smaller elements, we see direct address, e.g., when the TV announcer or news anchor meets the viewer's gaze. The basic assumption is that the question of modes of address, as well as the underlying conceptions of the audience, is not only relevant when studying the history of public service television, but also when trying to understand its current situation and possibilities. At the same time, the historical conceptions and modes of address play an important role in how public service television today tries to realize its mission.

The theoretical framework includes discussion of the concept of public service as a set of discursive images of the audience, and of TV as text, using concepts such as flow, segment and mode of address. From this framework, an analysis schema, combining different methods, was constructed and applicated to each of the three case studies: First, document analysis, in which views of the audience are read from political and internal documents dealing with programming policy. Second, the overall programming and implicit level of expression, and third, the programming´s explicit level of expression: Different types of narrators and social spaces in program transitions, entertainment, news and mixed programs.

In the monopolistic system of the 1960's, there was a parallel between the programming and the official formulated public service ideals, based on paternalistic maxims, while at the same time representing strong ambitions for democratization and justice. In the case study of the 1970's, we see again this parallel, in the system that was created to increase the audience freedom of choice, but also had an educational element to cultivate a more selective and serious audience. However, the period also saw a breakthrough for mixed programs, based on social interaction. In the 1990's system, one important aspect of the official policies is that it takes exception to ideals that connote paternalism and elitism and the Swedish hybrid channel TV4 plays a key role for the conception of public service. While TV4 has made it difficult to draw a definitive boundary between commercial and public service TV4, SVT and TV4 are mainly marked by differences both on the overall level of programming and on the level of direct address. SVT addresses the audience more as a public and as selective viewers e.g. via a significant proportion of factual programs and its systematic built-in reminders of program choice. TV4 addresses the audience more as a TV audience, e.g. via its high proportion of fiction and entertainment. The viewer's position is more that of the non-selective viewer who, via a downplayed feeling of choice and the dream techniques of advertising aesthetics, flows along the channel's programs and attractions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Eslöv: B. Östlings bokförlag , 2000. , 246 p.
Doktorsavhandlingar från JMK, ISSN 1102-3015 ; 15
Keyword [en]
television, public service, audience images, programming policy, monopoly, competition, programming, flow, segment, mode of address, text analysis
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Communication Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-65291ISBN: 91-7139-483-4OAI: diva2:462150
Public defence
2000-05-12, 10:00
Available from: 2011-12-06 Created: 2011-12-06Bibliographically approved

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