This qualitative research investigates the experience of prime time on mobile devices, as part of a wider question about continuities and discontinuities of linear television, with its three dimensions of technology, cultural form and social practice vis-à-vis the platform-dominated internet. The focus of this research is on the third dimension through an investigation of routine temporalities of mobile device use. While avoiding media-centrism and representational-only theories, this research uses purposive sampling, in-depth interviews along with brief think-aloud protocols, thematic coding, and thematic analysis to generate three main categories of daily routines, shared routines, and meanings as well as a few minor themes on notifications, usage rules, and stigma. The analysis shows that, despite the emerging new routines and temporalities linked to mobile devices, the usage and the meanings of these practices have remained similar to the television era. However, as the singular prime time tied to linear television seem tired, a plural, distributed prime time for mobile devices has emerged, which is worthy of deeper, wider, and more ethnography-oriented research in the future.
The full-text of my MSc dissertation, ‘Post-Television Prime Time’, is available, (PDF).