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‘Is Soft News a Turn-Off? Evidence from Italian TV News Viewership’ – Valentino Larcinese (The London School of Economics and Political Science)

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NICEP is delighted to be inviting Valentino Larcinese (The London School of Economics and Political Science) to deliver a talk entitled ‘Is Soft News a Turn-Off? Evidence from Italian TV News Viewership’ for the Autumn schedule of its seminar series.


In this paper we use detailed minute-by-minute individual level data (from Auditel), matched with detailed data on content (from Osservatorio di Pavia), to document patterns of TV news viewership in Italy. One of our findings is that self-reported news consumption from survey data (ITANES) tends to be substantially larger than actual viewership and that survey data might therefore not be entirely reliable for this type of studies. We are interested in particular in exposure to “hard news” (politics, the economy, foreign affairs…) and “soft news” (sport, celebrities, gossip…) and in viewers’ decision to switch from a news program as a function of the type of story they are currently watching. Somewhat surprisingly, we find that “soft” news systematically induce viewers to switch more than “hard” news, on average. On the other hand, stories about crime, and stories about accidents and disasters, are associated with less switching. We also find some differences in switching behaviour according to gender, age, and the specific TV channel being watched. The results are robust to the inclusion of viewer-specific fixed effects.

Date(s) - 17 Oct 2019
12:00 am - 1:00 pm

C10, Teaching & Learning Building