Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Earth & Environmental Sciences


Lisa George

Subject Categories



audience, fragmentation, television


Modern video distribution has increased the quantity and variety of programming available to viewers. Multichannel broadcasters using high-bandwidth distribution mechanisms such as satellite and cable television are able to deliver hundreds of channels to each home. Video on demand (VOD) allows users to select and watch video content at will. Digital video recorders (DVRs) have made it possible to watch any program at any time using an electronic program guide and recording shows onto a hard disk. Yet attention remains limited, as audience members are able to watch only a limited number of programs offered by different networks. As a result, the viewing audience today distributes itself over a larger set of programs than in the past. This process is called audience fragmentation. Television audiences are fragmented to different degrees, even if the set of available viewing options is similar. The level of audience fragmentation depends on factors such as the audience's geographic location and its demographic composition. A fragmented audience is more difficult to reach with advertising. Knowing the factors that determine audience fragmentation could be important for advertisers who are trying to send marketing messages to a certain group of consumers, as well as for programmers designing entertainment targeted at different groups. This thesis seeks to explain the relationship between audience characteristics, audience fragmentation, and advertising prices.

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