Audience Research By Dan Chapman, Geoff Chan, Paul Neville & Toby Morrison
What is an ‘Audience’? 'Audience' is a very important concept throughout the subject of Media Studies and within the Media industry. All media texts are made with an audience in mind, and generally, but not always, the producers make some money out of that audience. In light of this, it is important to understand what happens when an audience "meets" a media text.
Constructing the Audience Pt.1 When a media text is being planned, the producers ask the question ‘Does it have an audience’? If the answer to this question is no, then what would be the point in continuing with the production of the media text? Audience research is a major part of any media company - using questionnaires, focus groups, and comparisons to existing media texts, they will spend a great deal of time and money deciding if there is anyone out there who might be interested in their idea.
Constructing the Audience Pt.2 If the company planning this media text is a serious business, the media producers will want to know the following about their potential audience: Income bracket/status Age Gender Race Location
Constructing the Audience Pt.3 The process mentioned on the previous page is referred to as ‘Demographics’. Once the producers are aware of all the relevant information they need, they can then begin to shape their text to a specific/certain category of people which have similar viewing/listening/reading habits.
Creating an Audience Pt.1 Once a media text has been produced, the company need to make sure that it is then ‘sold’ to its intended audience. Generally speaking, all media texts will have some kind of campaign in order to promote them and to ‘big them up’. This can be done by the following: Posters & printed advertisements Trailers & promotional interviews Tie-in campaigns Merchandise
Creating and Audience Pt.2 Using the example of a new box office release, in order to increase the amount of people which would go to the Cinemas in order to see the film, the following would most likely happen; Trailer release – Shown on TV & Internet Radio broadcasts TV interviews Billboards, posters, flyers, magazine articles Merchandise in-stores & Fast food outlets
Summing Up Without audience research, media texts would have no aim or goal other than to make money, and with no specific audience, the money a media production makes would be quite considerably less, as its appeal would be not as significant as would have been if there was a target market so to speak. This applies to any product, not just media texts; without a specific target audience for the product in mind, it is never going to as successful as it could have been with the correct research done prior to the production of the item in question.