Engagement is a tricky term to pin down, shifting meaning in the media industries, across political communication and within popular culture. But the definition of engagement matters, as new currencies circulate in academic and industry discourses. The argument put forward in this session is that media engagement is a term that has been used in a strategic way within the media industries to capture social media analytics and ratings performance, thus instrumentally using a reductive meaning of engagement as a measurement of interest.
Annette Hill, Professor of Media and Communication at Lund University, Sweden, and Visiting Professor at King’s College, London, argues for a new definition of the term as subjective experience. Engagement is a nexus of relations, working across a spectrum of positive, negative, and disengagement with media.
Annette’s research is part of an industry-academic collaborative project Media Experiences, involving EndemolShine and Lund University. In this project, they worked with creative producers and audiences to find out how and why engagement matters to people as a resource for living.
Her research focuses on audiences and popular culture with interests in media engagement, everyday life, genres, production studies, and cultures of viewing. She is the author of eight books, and many articles and book chapters in journals and edited collections, which address varieties of engagement with reality television, news, and documentary, television drama, entertainment formats, live events and sports entertainment, film violence, and media ethics. Her latest book is ‘Media Experiences’ (Routledge 2018) and her next book is ‘Roaming Audiences’ (Routledge 2021).