Audience Research And Target Audiences


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Audience Research And Target Audiences

  1. 1. Audience Research and Target Audiences.
  2. 2. <ul><li>When a media text is being planned, perhaps the most important question the producers consider is &quot;Does it have an audience?&quot; If the answer to this is 'no', then there is no point in going any further. </li></ul><ul><li>Audience research is a major part of any media company, using questionnaires, focus groups, and comparisons to existing media texts </li></ul><ul><li>So far I have made comparisons to existing media texts. Our group is now going to concentrate on producing a questionnaire for a focus group. </li></ul><ul><li>In the development of our star image we researched the consumption characteristics of teenage music audiences in various different genres. This helped with targeting our specific audience and now using a focus group we are going to evaluate how successful that was in helping construct our main products. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>The industry uses a method of categorising known as demographics. Once they know this they can begin to shape their text to appeal to a group with known reading/viewing/listening habits. </li></ul><ul><li>One common way of describing audiences is to use a letter code to show their income bracket: </li></ul>
  4. 4. DEMOGRAPHIC CHART <ul><li>A Top management, bankers, lawyers, doctors and other professionals </li></ul><ul><li>B Middle management, teachers, many 'creatives' e.g. graphic designers etc </li></ul><ul><li>C1 Office supervisors, junior managers, nurses, specialist clerical staff etc </li></ul><ul><li>C2 Skilled workers, tradespersons (white collar) </li></ul><ul><li>D Semi-skilled and unskilled manual workers (blue collar) </li></ul><ul><li>E Unemployed, students, pensioners, casual workers </li></ul><ul><li>Depending on the genre- the music, artist or band could appeal to a wide spectrum of people within this demographic chart. </li></ul><ul><li>Audiences are also looked at in other categories:- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>age </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>gender </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>race </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Location </li></ul></ul><ul><li>It is important to consider very carefully how an audience might react to, or engage with a text. </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT This describes how an audience interacts with a media text. Different people react in different ways to the same text. (Stewart Hall) </li></ul><ul><li>AUDIENCE EXPECTATIONS These are the advance ideas an audience may have about a text. This particularly applies to genre pieces. Don't forget that producers often play with or deliberately shatter audience expectations. </li></ul><ul><li>AUDIENCE FOREKNOWLEDGE This is the definite information (rather than the vague expectations) which an audience brings to a media product. </li></ul><ul><li>AUDIENCE IDENTIFICATION This is the way in which audiences feel themselves connected to a particular media text, in that they feel it directly expresses their attitude or lifestyle. </li></ul><ul><li>AUDIENCE PLACEMENT This is the range of strategies media producers use to directly target a particular audience and make them feel that the media text is specially 'for them'. (Stewart Hall) </li></ul><ul><li>AUDIENCE RESEARCH Measuring an audience is very important to all media institutions. Research is done at all stages of production of a media text, and, once produced, audience will be continually monitored. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Creating an Audience <ul><li>Once a media text has been made, its producers need to ensure that it reaches the audience it is intended for. All media texts will have some sort of marketing campaign attached to them. Elements of this might include </li></ul><ul><li>Posters </li></ul><ul><li>Print advertisements: </li></ul><ul><li>Trailers </li></ul><ul><li>Promotional interviews in the same magazines. Appearances on Radio 1- the Zane Lowe show. XFM- Dave Berry. Radio 1- Steve LeMac. Broadcasting Podcasts on iTunes, Myspace and their official website. Appearing on TV Shows like ‘Late Night with Jools Holland’, 4music, and ‘Never mind the buzzcocks’. Or even on music channels like NMETV. Then also selling their music on iTunes. We would also want to promote their live gigs, they would support bigger bands on their label on tours around Britain and be promoted on ‘’. Or have them play at the ‘BBC introducing stage’ at Glastonbury, and local festivals like ‘Guilfest’. </li></ul><ul><li>Tie-in campaigns: the original version of this song done by the original artist was used for the iTunes advert. We would suggest something similar along the lines of a mobile phone advert. (e.g. a blockbuster movie using McDonalds meals) </li></ul><ul><li>Merchandising (e.g. t-shirts, baseball caps, key rings, posters, wristbands, mugs, hoodies, plectrums) </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing campaigns are intended to create awareness of a media text. Once that awareness has been created, hopefully audiences will come flocking in their hundreds of millions. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Counting an Audience <ul><li>Different types of media texts measure their audiences in different ways: </li></ul><ul><li>New Media: on Youtube there is a measured amount of people who have viewed your music video. This is also available on your own official website. On iTunes you are able to access the number of people that have downloaded your music. MTV conduct polls asking people what video they want to play- you will be able to know how many people have voted for yours. </li></ul><ul><li>Print Magazines and newspapers measure their circulation (ie numbers of copies sold). They are open about these figures - they have to be as these are the numbers quoted to advertisers when negotiating the price of a page. </li></ul><ul><li>Radio/TV Measuring the number of viewers and listeners for a TV/Radio programme or whole station's output is a complex business. Generally, an audience research agency (eg BARB) will select a sample of the population and monitor their viewing and listening habits over the space of 7 days. The data gained is then extrapolated to cover the whole population, based on the percentage sample. The numbers obtained are known as the viewing figures or ratings . </li></ul>
  8. 8. Effects Models <ul><li>Over the course of the past century or so, media analysts have developed several effects models , ie theoretical explanations of how humans ingest the information transmitted by media texts and how this might influence (or not) their behaviour. Effects theory is still a very hotly debated area of Media and Psychology research, as no one is able to come up with indisputable evidence that audiences will always react to media texts one way or another. The scientific debate is clouded by the politics of the situation: some audience theories are seen as a call for more censorship, others for less control. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Hypodermic Needle Model <ul><li>Basically, the Hypodermic Needle Model suggests that the information from a text passes into the mass consciousness of the audience unmediated , ie the experience, intelligence and opinion of an individual are not relevant to the reception of the text. This theory suggests that, as an audience, we are manipulated by the creators of media texts, and that our behaviour and thinking might be easily changed by media-makers. It assumes that the audience are passive . This theory is still quoted during moral panics by parents, politicians and pressure groups, and is used to explain why certain groups in society should not be exposed to certain media texts (shoot’em up films in the 1980s, rap music in the 2000s), for fear that they will watch or read sexual or violent behaviour and will then act them out themselves. </li></ul><ul><li>This is the same theory that supports the motion of technological determinism. </li></ul><ul><li>The Hypodermic model quickly proved too clumsy for media researchers seeking to more precisely explain the relationship between audience and text. </li></ul>
  10. 10. The Two-Step Flow <ul><li>This theory suggests that the information does not flow directly from the text into the minds of its audience unmediated but is filtered through &quot;opinion leaders&quot; who then communicate it to their less active associates, over whom they have influence. The audience then mediate the information received directly from the media with the ideas and thoughts expressed by the opinion leaders, thus being influenced not by a direct process, but by a two step flow. This diminished the power of the media in the eyes of researchers, and caused them to conclude that social factors were also important in the way in which audiences interpreted texts. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Uses and gratifications Katz and Blumler <ul><li>During the 1960’s, as the first generation to grow up with television became grown ups, it became increasingly apparent to media theorists that audiences made choices about what they did when consuming texts. Far from being a passive mass, audiences were made up of individuals who actively consumed texts for different reasons and in different ways. It was suggested that media texts had the following functions for individuals and society: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Surveillance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Correlation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Entertainment </li></ul></ul>