Doctoral dissertation

Hanna Willman-Iivarinen: Consumer Media Choice: Towards a comprehensive model

Hanna Willman-Iivarinen
Understanding the deeper psychological decision-making process and the wide range of media choice-related concepts will help media companies develop their products, position them better, and build more attractive brands. Since the costs of media usage are mainly non-monetary, paying attention to these costs has the potential of improving demand and getting more satisfied customers. Understanding the consideration set composition process and the decision-making process will help the companies sharpen their marketing messages and target them better.

The purpose of the doctoral dissertation of M.Soc. Sc. Hanna Willman-Iivarinen is to suggest a comprehensive conceptual model of the consumer decision-making process. Moreover, the aim is to provide tools for consumers and companies in order to make the consumer choice process more understandable and manageable. The main interest is in how the choice is made rather than what is chosen.

The starting point has been media economics, which is a collection of themes involving the media industry, economics, and financial issues of media companies. Since media economics does not cover all the essential topics relevant to the choicemaking process, attention in this study was turned to other related theories. Therefore, the approach used is multidisciplinary.

Several theoretical frames are examined; for example, economics, communication, consumption studies, decision theory, and also some concepts of philosophy, psychology, sociology, and marketing are discussed. The research is developmental, including theoretical considerations and testing of a small sample of empirical data as an example. The data was collected with web-based questionnaires from 2014–2016. There were 336 respondents from all over Finland.

The suggested comprehensive media choice process discusses the steps of the choice and their interrelations. Using media requires the usage of scarce personal resources such as time and energy; their availability and the required amount of them set the limits and costs of the choices. Nevertheless, there is no conceptualization of how the scarcity of consumer resources affects media choices. This study fulfills these shortcomings and combines the elements into a comprehensive model.

The suggested model widens the traditional way of thinking about consumer choices (for example, with cost-benefit analysis) by adding and empirically examining the pre-mentioned elements of consumer resources and other subconsciously influencing elements, such as brand relationship, subjective costs, decision task, decision goals, and decision strategies. Furthermore, it is proposed how consumers’ expectations can function as a missing link between consumer and opportunity set. The suggested model develops an understanding of media choice.

The empirical results confirm the relevance of these variables. Many implications and other uses for the model (for example, examining voters’ decision-making) are proposed, but the main message is the importance of paying attention to the decision goals and decision strategies since they ultimately dictate what will be chosen.

The doctoral dissertation of M.Soc. Sc. Hanna Willman-Iivarinen in the field of media research titled Consumer media choice – Towards a comprehensive model will be publicly examined at the Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences of Tampere University at 12 o'clock on Friday 4 December, 2020. The venue is Linna building lecture hall K 103, address: Kalevantie 5. Professor Terhi-Anna Wilska will be the opponent while Professor Sirkku Kotilainen will act as the custos.

The event can be followed via remote connection.

The dissertation is avalable online at

Photo: Sami Iivarinen