Audiovisual: individual practices, collective consumption by Fabien Granjon

Fabien Granjon is a great sociologist of media much appreciated for his ability to capture emerging usages.

ICT Professor at Paris 8 Vincennes/Saint-Denis University in Culture & Communication UFR, he is a former researcher in sociology and media within the Orange Labs.

Audiovisual consumption practices cannot be reduced to the times when content is viewed. They also include a wealth of various other activities, which structure different kinds of practices that may be more or less complex and unique.

Keeping informed, discovering, acquiring, chatting, discussing, sharing, stocking, organizing, transferring, etc, are all actions that are “the daily routine”, as much for the “profane” consumer as for the fan or the “expert” amateur.

Taking an interest in this mix of practices (and not only in the moment of the viewing) is undoubtedly one of the cleverest ways of understanding what, concretely, is the cultural consumption of today.

Obviously, the complexity of these combinations of various activities is somewhat reinforced by the new customization possibilities offered by the equipment, the networks and the audiovisual services. However, we shouldn’t forget the collective aspect of audiovisual consumption, which, besides being a moment for discovering content, is also often a “gathering” with other people.

The uses of VoD or of the DVD/PVR player are often related to scheduled and anticipated timeslots (often during the weekend) to be spent with one’s partner or friends. The screens (TV, PC and mobiles), as well as their connected activities (information, downloading, etc) are also often shared with peers. The viewing, its side-activities (ex: recommendations) and its continuations (ex: discussions) are opportunities to communicate with friends (or make up for their absence), to share emotions, to talk about one-self etc.

Interests, tastes and criticism are just more resources that fuel the sociability of individuals and their selected communities (groups of friends, forums, sites, etc). Audiovisual culture (or more largely “media”) is proven to be an important part of conversation and more generally of the available stock of knowledge that is supposed to be shared by a large number of people.

And it’s precisely because this cultural form allows us to create and to maintain the social fabric and is fundamentally resting on communication activities that digital information & communication technologies obviously have a very important role to play in this process.

To learn more (French only):

– Boullier (Dominique), La télévision telle qu’on la parle, Paris, L’Harmattan, 2004.

– Glevarec (Hervé), La Télévision est enfin un média : discussion à propos de La fin de la télévision de Jean-Louis Missika, IFRESI-CLERSE, 2007,


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