Understanding entertainment value: an investigation into the subjectivity of people who experience entertainment
- Understanding entertainment value: an investigation into the subjectivity of people who experience entertainment
The purpose of this doctoral dissertation and the research presented herein is to test and refine a general method of observing, capturing, describing and comparing subjective viewpoints on entertainment value. Of particular interest and equally important is the effort to provide a theoretical foundation for the conceptualization, operationalization, and empirical testing of the entertainment value concept, adopting the perspective of those experiencing performance-based and screen-based entertainment. This dissertation is also a crossover study between and among amusement, recreation, entertaining experiences, audience research, and events and live performances. Results will be integrated into the broader study of entertainment, where the core phenomenon under investigation is the entertainment experience. Entertainment value is a multi-faceted concept, widely used but poorly, or at least not effectively, operationalized for use in scholarly and commercial research. It is proposed herein that entertainment value refers to the type of value that screen-based products and live performances yield to those who experience these generic forms of entertainment. Entertainment value is perceived consumer value, experiential and subjective, a multi-dimensional concept and construct intrinsic to the entertainment experience. In three complementary studies, respondents are grouped based on shared subjective experiences resulting from the consumption of three different kinds of innovative entertainment products: a) an animated, short documentary film, b) one episode a described video television comedy; and c) a live cultural performance. In an innovative way, Stephenson’s Q Methodology (1953) and Typology of Consumer Value proposed by Morris Holbrook (1999) are adopted, tested and refined to empirically identify, describe and compare the subjective viewpoints of those who experience entertainment. The Q Methodology allowed for a rich description of a range of entertainment experiences from almost three hundred respondents. Interpretation of subjective reactions and self-reports, and the differences among these viewpoints, have been facilitated by and pointed to corresponding types of perceived entertainment value. In this sense, Holbrook’s (1999) typology for consumer value proved useful, by complementing in a number of ways the design and implementation of this exploratory research with Q methodology.