Television Viewing, Satisfaction and Happiness: Facts and Fiction
Despite the increasing consumption of new media, watching television remains the most important leisure activity worldwide. Research on audience reactions has demostrated that there are major contradictions between television consumption and the satisfaction obtained from this activity. Similar findings have also emerged in the relationship between TV consumption and overall well-being. This paper argues that television viewing can provide a major example where consumption choices do not maximize satisfaction. We review the evidence on the welfare effects of TV consumption choices, focusing on two complementary dimensions: consumption satisfaction and overall well-being Within each of these two dimensions, we consider both absolute and relative over-consumption, referring to quantity and content of television viewing, respectively. We find that research in different social sciences provides evidence of overconsumption in television viewing. The relevance of these findings for consumption of new media is discussed in the conclusions.
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