A2 G325 Q1B Audience Theory

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A2 G325 Q1B Audience Theory

  1. 1. A2 Media Studies (Phoebe Bower) 1. Analyse one of your coursework productions in relation to audience theory. In terms of the Hypodermic Needle Theory, our audience doesn’t necessarily prescribe. In our planning we did use quite clear indicators SIGNIFIERS which would allow our audience to process the information easily; such as the visual effects, like Teal Orange, to signify the Music Video narrative was entering a flashback. The brightness and colourful look of the effect suggests that the footage is of a happier time, when the protagonist and her lover were together, particularly when compared to the dull, Strife effect the footage of the present features. A fairly obvious visual difference between the two clips, and with the soldier present in the Past shots identifies them as flashbacks, meaning the audience doesn't have to work particularly hard to understand the narrative. On the other hand, the Soldier proved a difficult character to identify as a soldier, ironically, because although not deliberate, the uniform he wore did not immediately signify his profession, particularly when the footage was subjected to Strife or Black and White effects. This was difficult for the audience to pick up on. This disproved the idea that we used the Hypodermic Needle Theory for the entire Music Video, instead choosing to use it in during certain moments and ignore it in others. Our Music Video does subscribe to the Users and Gratification Theory, however, it is up to the audience to use the material for whatever purpose preferred. Our Music Video mainly offers the audience a Diversion, an escape from real life. Set in the 1940's (A world away from the modern period), it features a narrative plot although familiar, is exclusive to a certain group of people, those who have relatives or loved ones in the armed forces. It is a highly idealised and very common, overly romantic, offering an escape from the boring, but only that. For certain members of the audience, the Music Video might offer Personal Identity, or, more likely, Personal Relationships, as our Music Video offers a highly romanticised relationship between two people with insight into how happy they were together. This might offer gratification to those lacking that in their personal lives. During our Target Audience feedback session, in which we gathered information to evaluate our Music Video, the Two-Step Flow Theory (Lazarsfeld and Katz, 1944) could perhaps be applied. When carrying out our viewing session where members of our focus group watched the production, some members had seen it before. Unfortunately, we’d shown the final piece to some members of our audience more than once. As a result, they’d had more of an opportunity to develop their own opinions as well as learn more about the Music Video, perhaps picking up on certain things which they’d missed the first time watching e.g. the differing effects of Strife, Black and White and Teal Orange, or the switches between the Soldier character and New Lover. Therefore, their preconceived ideas could influence inexperienced viewers. Like the theory suggests, rather than the media information flowing directly from the text into the minds of the audience, it is filtered through by “Opinion Leaders”, in this case, students who’d already watched the Video who knew, for example, that the Old Boyfriend was a Soldier. This meant half of our focus group were influenced by a Two-Step Flow; consequently, our data might be biased. We can also apply the Audience Theory of Reception Analysis to our Target Audience feedback, in the sense that the majority of our audience fall into the category of Negotiated Reading. This is in relation to their consumption of our product, and in particular, the characterisation of a character. Although much of the audience recognised his function as the love interest and the idea that he was coming home to the protagonist, falling into the category of Preferred/Dominant Reading, many of them did not pick up on the fact that he was a Soldier until after they were told, meaning that they weren’t completely rejecting his role and acting in Oppositional Reading. They
  2. 2. didn’t register the cliché, Soldier storyline but didn’t reject the whole character and many of them understood after watching the second time or “saw it” when presented it. They found common ground that fit with their interpretations and the producers’ intentions, becoming Negotiating Readers.

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