Tudor Musat copyright
Photo copyright by Tudor Musat

This Monday Questia Group focuses on the topic of television. In 2016, a year that advanced the era of Donald Trump and Brexit, post-truth became more than a simple adjective, but a reality. Defined by the Oxford Dictionary as relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief, post-truth is closely connected to media channels like television, radio and internet websites (see social media and its filtered bubbles). This week’s research is focused on television: the picture above highlights an estimated quarter of a million of protesters in Bucharest this Sunday captured by almost all news stations in Romania.

Our research was made through an online survey on our platform www.questia.ro covering 1,239 respondents, with a plus or minus 3% margin of error. The survey was active between the 31st of January and 3rd of February 2017. Our findings are presented below.

In an average week, 23.9% of Romanians spend more than 10 hours watching TV, 32.9% spend between three to five hours, while 24.4% spend between 5 to 9 hours watching TV. Only 12.9% spend between one or two hours in front of the TV, while 5.9% less than an hour. Thus, the majority spends between 5 to more than 10 hours per in front of the TV, an average of one to two hours per day.

Time spent watching TV

When referring to an average weekend, half of our respondents (51.4%) watch TV between three to six hours, an average of one to two hours per day. Some (13.3%) watch more than 10 hours, while others (19.1%) spend between six to nine hours in front of the TV, or even two hours or less (16.4%). Therefore, between Monday to Sunday Romanians watch an average of two hours of TV.

Regarding what Romanians are watching, the data show interesting insights. Post-truth is generally connected to how facts are presented with emotion and filtered through personal beliefs. This issue can easily occur through broadcasted news programs (or political debates; see here another phenomenon connected to post-truth called gaslighting).

As for Romanians, 61.8% declare that they watch national and international news. Generally, since the government’s ordinance (no.13/2017) has been published in the Official Gazette on 31 January at night, almost all news stations have broadcasted live the general protests that happened afterward. We have recently published an article on this issue here.

However, besides news, Romanians enjoy watching movies (77.7%), documentaries (58.9%), music stations (41.7%), science programs (37.5%) and reality shows (35.9%). There are some who enjoy watching sports (28.7%), history thematic content (27.9%) or art programs (12.4%).

Asked what they do when the program they are watching has finished, most Romanians prefer to search until they find something that fits their current mood (63.4%) while only a few (9.1%) stop watching TV or watch the next program that starts on the same TV channel.

All in all, the events currently happening in Romania have influenced to a great degree what Romanian TV channels – especially those focused on broadcasting news – are currently airing, as well as people’s regular habits of TV watching. At the global level, the power of the media is being highly contested, negotiated and reconsidered, while many social scientists and people alike are starting to ponder its impact on democracy.

Don’t miss Questia Group's studies in the following weeks. Find out more about consumer behavior, attitudes and beliefs regarding numerous topics, from banking to consumer goods, the internet, leisure, marketing and retail in real time.