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Powerpoint to help task 3

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  • 1. Audience Research and Target Audiences By Jay Dobkins
  • 2. INTRODUCTION  When a media text is being planned, perhaps the most important question the producers consider is "Does it have an audience?" If the answer to this is 'no', then there is no point in going any further.  Audience research is a major part of any media company, using questionnaires, focus groups, and comparisons to existing media texts.  So far I have already made comparisons to existing media texts. Our group is now going to concentrate on producing a questionnaire for a focus group.  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. Now using a focus group, we are going to evaluate how successful that was in helping construct our main products.
  • 3. DEMOGRAPHICS  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.  One common way of describing audiences is to use a letter code to show their income bracket:  A Top management, bankers, lawyers, doctors and other professionals  B Middle management, teachers, many 'creatives' e.g. graphic designers etc  C1 Office supervisors, junior managers, nurses, specialist clerical staff etc  C2 Skilled workers, tradespersons (white collar)  D Semi-skilled and unskilled manual workers (blue collar)  E Unemployed, students, pensioners, casual workers  Depending on the genre of the music, an artist or a band could appeal to a wide spectrum of people within this demographic chart.  Although, audiences are also looked at in other categories:  age  gender  race  location
  • 4. It is important they also consider very carefully how an audience might react to, or engage with, their text.
  • 5. The following are all factors in analysing or predicting this reaction:  AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT This describes how an audience interacts with a media text. Different people react in different ways to the same text. (Stuart Hall)  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.  AUDIENCE FOREKNOWLEDGE This is the definite information (rather than the vague expectations) which an audience brings to a media product.  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.  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'. (Stuart Hall)  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.
  • 6. Creating Audience  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:  Posters – which would be sold in music stores or come as a free gift with some music magazines for example.  print advertisements  trailers  promotional interviews - would be in similar music magazines as shown on this side of this slide, which also print advertisements would be included in too. Also, interviews would be carried out on the radio, for example, on Radio 1, on the Zane Lowe Show and Dave Berry on X FM as the both look at new and upcoming acts on their radio shows. Then there are Podcasts on iTunes, myspace pages and the bands official webpage, 4music, NME music channel, iTunes, Spotifier, Late night with Jools Holland, single of the week on iTunes (often new bands), Seatwave (advertise gigs – both big and small up and coming bands), Gigs – supporting bigger bands on the label, local festivals e.g. Guilfest (new bands), supporting bigger band on their label on tours around Britain – these are just a number of ways in which promotional interviews can be shown.  Tie-in campaigns – Bruises was originally used for the iPod Nano advert, so we would suggest something for a similar advertisement, a soft product such as washing tablets etc.  Merchandising - t-shirts, baseball caps, key rings, posters, wristbands, badges, mugs, hoodies, plectrums.  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.
  • 7. COUNTING AUDIENCE  Different types of media texts measure their audiences in different ways, below are a few common examples:  Tickets sales for live gigs and sales of merchandise  Number of downloads  Number of sales from records stores published sales  Number of hits on Youtube  New Media – on Youtube, myspace, iTunes downloads, Spotify Downloads, official website hits and downloads, polls on MTV, ring in to vote for music you want on a number of music channels such as The Box.  Print Magazines and newspapers measure their circulation (i.e. 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.  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 (e.g. 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. It is by no means an accurate science. The numbers obtained are known as the viewing figures or ratings.
  • 8. HOW ARE WE GOING TO COUNT OUR AUDIENCE? Youtube counts as it is our only source at the moment. However, we are going to also upload it to our Facebook sites and even try and send it out by email, to try and boost our viewings.
  • 9. EFFECTS MODELS  Over the course of the past century or so, media analysts have developed several effects models, i.e. 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.
  • 10. The Hypodermic Needle  Basically, the Hypodermic Needle Model suggests that the information from a text passes into the mass consciousness of the audience unmediated, i.e. 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 e.g. rap music in the 2000s, for fear that they will watch or read sexual or violent behaviour and will then act them out themselves.  This theory supports the idea of technological determinism – a theory that presumes that a society's technology drives the development of its social structure and cultural values.
  • 11. The Hypodermic model quickly proved too clumsy for media researchers seeking to more precisely explain the relationship between audience and text. As the mass media became an essential part of life in societies around the world and did NOT reduce populations to a mass of unthinking drones, a more sophisticated explanation was required.
  • 12. The Two-Step Flow  This theory suggests that the information does not flow directly from the text into the minds of its audience unmediated but is filtered through "opinion leaders" 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.
  • 13. Uses and Gratifications Katz and Blumler  During the 1960s, as the first generation grew up with television and 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:  surveillance  correlation  entertainment
  • 14.  Researchers expanded this theory and published their own in 1974, stating that individuals might choose and use a text for the following purposes (i.e. uses and gratifications): Diversion - escape from everyday problems and routine. Personal Relationships - using the media for emotional and other interaction, e.g. substituting soap operas for family life. Personal Identity - finding yourself reflected in texts, learning behaviour and values from texts. Surveillance - Information which could be useful for living e.g. weather reports, financial news, holiday bargains.
  • 15. Reception Theory  Extending the concept of an active audience still further, in the 1980s and 1990s a lot of work was done on the way individuals received and interpreted a text, and how their individual circumstances (gender, class, age, ethnicity) affected their reading.  This work was based on Stuart Hall's encoding/decoding model of the relationship between text and audience - the text is encoded by the producer, and decoded by the reader, and there may be major differences between two different readings of the same code.  However, by using recognised codes and conventions, and by drawing upon audience expectations relating to aspects such as genre and use of stars, the producers can position the audience and thus create a certain amount of agreement on what the code means. This is known as a preferred reading.