ISSN 2312-5160

online ISSN 2786-4502


Visit our Facebook-page

Visit our Facebook-page

Indexed in

Index Copernicus
Google Scolar
Maksymovych Scientific Library
Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine

Current Issues of Mass Communication, 2018, no. 23, pp. 23-34

ISSN 2312-5160


Full text, PDF (in English)

Escape and Entertainment as Key Motives for Viewing TV News in the Light of Ritualistic Use of Television

Yurii Havrylets, Volodymyr Rizun, Maksym Khylko, Sergii Tukaiev

Institute of Journalism, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, 36/1 Illienka St., Kyiv, 04119, Ukraine

* Corresponding author’s e-mail address: youri1985[@]



In this study, a scientific interpretation of escape and entertainment TV viewing motives is considered in the view of Uses and Gratifications Theory. More specifically, it is analysed how the TV viewing motives, initially elaborated for general TV use, are important to the TV news consumption. How strong are the motivations to escape and seek for entertainment in TV newscasts?

Given that primary goal of TV news viewing is obtaining information about the society and the world, TV news largely perform the instrumental role. However, in digital era, TV news are a combination of hard news (serious newsworthy topics, with analytical approach) and soft news (entertaining news items that rely mainly on attracting viewers’ attention, and relief after watching hard news). After TV viewers return home, there is usually no matter what to watch, but it is important just to relax. Though the amount of soft news is relatively small, it was studied how strong viewers’ motive is to watch an average TV newscast as a means to escape or being entertained.

Our study indicates that TV news has to be considered within two motivational patterns elaborated by U&G scholars for general TV use: instrumental and ritualistic viewing. Escape and entertainment motives are indisputable attributes of ritualistic use, whereas informational or surveillance motive leads to instrumental use.

Within Uses and Gratifications Theory, the concepts of escapism and entertainment occupy central positions in the row of TV viewing motives. However, they are often considered as a motivation to watch entertainment TV – fictional or reality-based programmes. But specific motivational structure that drives viewers to watch TV news remain largely meagre and divergent. In this study there was analysed the evidence that indicate various extents of strength of escapism and entertainment motives towards TV news viewing.

Notwithstanding some criticisms, U&G proved to be an enduring scientific approach. In U&G research, watching TV news is regarded as a process, aimed at obtaining messages about the world and neighbourhood, as well as information necessary for everyday decision making by the viewer and her/his relatives. In recent decades, the infotainment genre or soft news has been becoming more popular, and more and more tabloid TV stations tend to consider that TV news should entertain the viewers not less than to inform, or even more.


KEYWORDS: escape; entertainment; TV viewing motive; Uses and Gratifications Theory; TV news.



  1. Anderson, D., Collins, P., Schmitt, K., & Jacobwitz, R. S. (1996), “Stressful life events and television viewing”, Communication Research, no. 23(3), pp. 243-260, doi: 10.1177/009365096023003001.
  2. Ball Rokeach, S. (1976), “A Dependency Model of Mass-Media Effects”, Communication Research, no. 3(1), pp. 3-21, doi: 10.1177/009365027600300101.
  3. Barden, P. (2013), Decoded: The Science Behind Why We Buy, Hoboken, NJ, Wiley.
  4. Boukes, M., & Boomgaarden, H.G. (2015), “Soft News with Hard Consequences? Introducing a Nuanced Measure of Soft Versus Hard News Exposure and Its Relationship with Political Cynicism”, Communication Research, no. 42(5), pp. 701-731, doi: 10.1177/0093650214537520.
  5. Bryant, J., Carveth, R.A. & Brown, D. (1981), “Television Viewing and Anxiety: An Experimental Examination”, Journal of Communication, no. 31(1), pp. 106-119, doi: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.1981.tb01210.x.
  6. Bryant, J., & Thompson, S. (2002), Fundamentals of Media Effects, Boston, MA, McGraw-Hill.
  7. Bryant, J., & Zillmann, D. (1984), “Using television to alleviate boredom and stress: Selective exposure as a function of induced excitational states”, Journal of Broadcasting, no. 28(1), pp. 1-20, doi: 10.1080/08838158409386511.
  8. Conway, J. & Rubin, A. (1991), “Psychological predictors of television viewing motivation”, Communication Research, no. 18(4), pp. 443-463, doi: 10.1177/009365091018004001.
  9. Diddi, A. & LaRose, R. (2006), “Getting hooked on news: Uses and gratifications and the formation of news habits among college students in an Internet environment”, Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, no. 50(2), pp. 193-210, doi: 10.1207/s15506878jobem5002_2.
  10. Greenwood, D.N. (2008), “Television as escape from self: Psychological predictors of media involvement”, Personality and Individual Differences, no. 44(2), pp. 414-424, doi: org/10.1016/j.paid.2007.09.001.
  11. Henning, B. & Vorderer, P. (2001), “Psychological escapism: Predicting the amount of television viewing by need for cognition”, Journal of Communication, no. 51(1), pp. 100-120, doi: 10.1093/joc/51.1.100.
  12. Henningham, J.P. (1982), “How TV News Meets People’s Needs”, Journal of Sociology, no. 18(3), pp. 417-427, doi: 10.1177/144078338201800308.
  13. Katz, E. & Foulkes, D. (1962), “On the Use of the Mass Media As “Escape”: Clarification of a Concept”, Public Opinion Quarterly, no. 26(3), pp. 377-388, doi: 10.1086/267111.
  14. Katz, E., Blumler, J.G. & Gurevich, M. (1973), “Uses and Gratifications Research”, The Public Opinion Quarterly, no. 37(4), 509-523, doi: 10.1086/268109.
  15. Klimmt, C. (2008), “Escapism”, in Donsbach, W. (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Communication (2008), available at: 10.1002/9781405186407 (accessed 30 August 2018).
  16. Klite, P., Bardwell, R. & Salzman, J. (1997), “Local TV News. Getting away with Murder”, The International Journal of Press/Politics, vol. 2, pp. 102-112, doi: 10.1177/1081180X97002002009.
  17. Kubey, R.W. (1986), “Television Use in Everyday Life: Coping with Unstructured Time”, Journal of Communication, no. 36(3), pp. 108-123, doi: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.1986.tb01441.x.
  18. Kubey, R.W. & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990), “Television as escape: Subjective experience before an evening of heavy viewing”, Flow and the Foundations of Positive Psychology: The Collected Works of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, no. 3(2), pp. 92-100, doi: 10.1007/978-94-017-9088-8_7.
  19. Lee, A.M. (2013), “News Audiences Revisited: Theorizing the Link Between Audience Motivations and News Consumption”, Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, no. 57(3), pp. 300-317, doi: 10.1080/08838151.2013.816712.
  20. Levy, M.R. & Windahl, S. (1984), “Audience activity and gratifications”, Communication Research, no. 11(1), pp. 51-78, doi: 10.1177/009365084011001003.
  21. Pavić, J. & Rijavec, M. (2013), “Stress and television viewing in female college students: Mediating role of TV viewing motives and TV affinity”, Suvremena Psihologija, no. 16(1), pp. 33-46.
  22. Pearlin, L. (1959), “Social and Personal Stress and Escape Television Viewing”, Public Opinion Quarterly, no. 16(2), pp. 255-259, doi: 10.1086/266870.
  23. Perse, E.M. (1990), “Media involvement and local news effects”, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, no. 34(1), pp. 17-36, doi: 10.1080/08838159009386723.
  24. Potts, R. & Sanchez, D. (1994), “Television Viewing and Depression: No News Is Good News”, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, no. 38(1), pp. 79–90, doi: 10.1080/08838159409364247.
  25. Rubin, A.M. (1983), “Television uses and gratifications: The interactions of viewing patterns and motivations”. Journal of Broadcasting, no. 27(1), pp. 37–51, doi: 10.1080/08838158309386471.
  26. Rubin, A.M. (1984), “Ritualized and Instrumental Television Viewing”, Journal of Communication, no. 34(3), pp. 67-77, doi: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.1984.tb02174.x.
  27. Rubin, A.M., Perse, E.M. & Powell, R.A. (1985), “Loneliness, Parasocial Interaction, and Local Television News Viewing”, Human Communication Research, no. 12(2), pp. 155-180, doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2958.1985.tb00071.x.
  28. Scott, B.D.K. & Gobetz, R.H. (1992), “Hard news/soft news content of the national broadcast networks, 1972-1987”, Journalism Quarterly, no. 69(2), pp. 406-412, doi: 10.1177/107769909206900214.
  29. Thussu, D. (2008), “Infotainment”, in Donsbach, W. (Ed.), International encyclopedia of communication (2008), available at: 10.1002/9781405186407 (accessed 30 August 2018).
  30. Vorderer, P. (1996), “Rezeptionsmotivation: Warum nutzen Rezipienten mediale Unterhaltungsangebote?”, Publizistik, no. 41(3), pp. 310-326.
  31. Vorderer, P., Klimmt, C. & Ritterfeld, U. (2004), “Enjoyment: At the heart of media entertainment”, Communication Theory, no. 14(4), pp. 388-408, doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2885.2004.tb00321.x.
  32. Windahl, S. (1979), “A uses and effects model: some suggestions”, Media panel Report No. 7b, IV Nordic Conference for Mass Communication Research, Lund (mimeo).
  33. Zillmann, D. & Bryant, J. (1985), “Affect, mood, and emotion as determinants of selective exposure”, in Zillmann, D. & Bryant J. (Eds.), Selective Exposure to Communication, Hillsdale, NJ, Erlbaum, pp. 157-190.
  34. Zillmann, D., Gibson, R., Ordman, V.L. & Aust, C.F. (1994), “Effects of Upbeat Stories in Broadcast News”, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, no. 38(1), pp. 65–78, doi: 10.1080/08838159409364246.

Comments are closed.