The purpose of this study is to explain viewers' entertainment and feeling of being informed when watching political talk shows on German TV, dependent on their viewing motivation. First, an exploratory survey (N = 189) aimed to identify the motivation. Results show that some participants have a strong interest in gaining political information by following such shows, while others simply watch them for entertainment purposes. Drawing on infotainment as well as on the elaboration likelihood model as a basis for entertainment and the feeling of being informed, four hypotheses were then tested in a 2 x 2 (focus on entertaining features vs. focus on information x talk show containing a video clip vs. talk show containing no video clip) experiment with 63 subjects. The results suggest that people feel better informed and more entertained through political talk shows when watching them with a focus on entertaining features rather than with a focus on information. However, whether a talk show contains a video clip or not does not make a difference. The fact that a focus on entertaining features can really induce a feeling of being informed reveals an interesting phenomenon, which is consistent with current developments in entertainment theory.Key reference terms:
political talk shows, entertainment, feeling of being informed, video clips, experiment
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