Nature documentaries, environmental preferences and willingness to pay: the Blue Planet II effect

The relationship between media and the environment has been studied from a wide range of perspectives within the field of mass communication for many decades. Nature documentaries are also now an increasingly used modality to communicate environmental issues in order to create awareness, change behaviours or perhaps motivate increased viewers’ demand for environmental policy action. However, the role the viewing of nature documentaries has on the publics’ environmental preferences and willingness to pay has generally been ignored in the valuation literature. This research examines this issue by estimating choice models that test for the impact of having seen the BBC Blue Planet II (BPII) series on both marine management preferences and willingness to pay to support the delivery of deep-sea ecosystem services. It may be the case that those who have watched BPII have different characteristics (education levels, environmental awareness, etc.) from those that have not, resulting in the non-random selection into the subgroups of those who have versus have not watched the BPII series. The study therefore also examined the use of entropy balancing in discrete choice analysis to increase the reliability of comparisons between groups.

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