Lean Forward and Lean Back Media: explanation of difference

By John Dudovskiy
October 4, 2013

Lean Forward and Lean Back MediaMedia can be defined as “communication channels through which news, entertainment, education, data, or promotional messages are disseminated” (Business Dictionary, 2013).

Katz (2012) divides media into two categories: lean forward and lean back. The following table illustrates the major differences between lean forward and lean back media.

Lean forward Lean back


Direct Main

Yellow Pages

Television (via DVRs, Video on Demand)


Television (other)



The main differences between lean forward and lean back media

Source: Katz (2010)

 In simple terms, lean forward media is a type of media where receivers lean forward to interact and control the flow of information in an active manner. In lean back form of media, on the other hand, viewers can lean back and do receive the information in a passive manner. According to categorisations provided above print media can be specified as lean forward media.



Katz, H. (2010) “The Media Handbook: A Complete Guide to Advertising Media Selection, Planning, Research, and Buying” 4th edition, Taylor & Francis

Media (2013) Business Dictionary, Available at: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/media.html

Category: Marketing