Audiences and institutions part 1


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Audiences and institutions part 1

  1. 1. Institutions & Audiences Reality TV Cartoon © Benrik Pitch
  2. 2. How popular is reality TV? <ul><li>Annette Hill: media theorist and expert in the rise of reality tv </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Reality TV is so popular across the public in Britain that sometimes more than half the population are watching one reality TV show.’ </li></ul>
  3. 3. A Week in Reality TV – an overview <ul><li>In a single week in January 2011: </li></ul><ul><li>– 41 different reality titles were broadcast on Freeview channels alone </li></ul><ul><li>– at least 12 of these programmes were screened daily </li></ul><ul><li>– a number were repeated in different time slots throughout the day. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Key Questions <ul><ul><li>Who watches what? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How do they watch? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How do producers/broadcasters target them? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why do audiences watch reality TV? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why do TV institutions make/broadcast reality TV shows? </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Producers, Technologies and Audiences – a Complex Relationship <ul><li>What producers do to generate audiences for reality TV </li></ul><ul><li>1. Broadcasters, commissioners and producers always have particular audiences in mind. They identify and target their audiences in terms of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>demographics : age, gender, social class, region, ethnicity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>psychographics : lifestyles, personality types, values and beliefs, based on specially commissioned profiling, industry case studies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>market research : what genres/shows are successful, opportunities for more of the same, gaps in the market for particular groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>media technologies : creating and exploiting new media platforms to reach and draw in their targeted audiences. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. 2. Targeting the Audience <ul><li>Scheduling </li></ul><ul><li>finding the right time-slot for the target audience's needs; </li></ul><ul><li>‘ stripping’ a programme at the same time daily over a week </li></ul><ul><li>running repeats, extras, special events </li></ul><ul><li>personalising with online and on-demand downloads </li></ul><ul><li>Interactivity (the latest buzzword – what every producer wants to achieve) </li></ul><ul><li>phone-ins, votes, competitions, web-based forums, chat-rooms, social network groups, text-message updates etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Synergy </li></ul><ul><li>keeping you interested through cross-media promotions – merchandising, websites, presenters/participants on TV and radio talk-shows, photo-opportunities and PR stories in the press, lifestyle and celeb magazines and so on. </li></ul><ul><li>Which methods work for you ? </li></ul>
  7. 7. 3. Satisfying Our Needs <ul><li>The ‘Four Needs’ (or ‘Uses and Gratifications’) theory by Blumler and Katz suggests that audiences use the media in four different ways. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Entertainment and diversion : to find personal pleasure and enjoyment; emotional release from everyday life and its problems. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Surveillance and information: to learn about the world, new experiences, other people; to satisfy curiosity; acquire new knowledge. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal relationships: to enhance and explore relationships with other people, find companionship or substitute friendships on screen. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal identity: to find support and reinforcement for one’s values and beliefs; to help understand oneself; to help explore one’s own identity. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How far might these explain the popularity of reality TV with audiences? </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Added value for the Broadcasters </li></ul><ul><ul><li>relatively cheap to produce, no paid actors, no sets or just one set </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>long-running – occupies many hours of air-time, including spin-offs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>audience loyalty as the series builds to climax </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>endlessly recyclable format, which can be copyrighted and franchised globally </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>huge audiences, national profile, can generate massive tabloid promotion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>generates a massive income for the channel via: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>sales of advertising space to major brands at prime-time </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>sponsorship from advertisers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>revenue from voting process </li></ul></ul></ul>Summary of benefits to the industry
  9. 9. Reality TV: a sub genre Britain’s Got Talent 1. Reality Talent Format: Competition – auditions, tension, conflict, skills development A format – recognisable, familiar, same but different Talent (or not) Celebrity judges, real-life personal stories or journeys Anyone can enter A long-term process building to a mega-event A vote and a winner
  10. 10. Reality TV: a sub genre The Family 2. Docusoap a hybrid of observational documentary and soap opera Format and Examples: Vets in Practice: narratives around vets, suffering pets, and their owners and the drama, highs and lows of the daily life of a veterinary practice. Traffic Cops: motorway stories, seen from the point of view of the daily work of traffic police. The Family : 28-camera set-up records the minutiae of everyday family life over 8 months. Massively edited into a highly constructed narrative. Series 1 observational with voiceover, focusing on small moments of family conflict set entirely within the home; Series 2 incorporates talking heads, interview and more continuing story strands, with external footage. Click for The Family (clip 1) ; Click for The Family (clip 2) .
  11. 11. Reality TV : reasons for success Reality Talent and The Docusoap <ul><li>In what ways would this reality sub-genre appeal to the TV institutions (producers and broadcasters)? </li></ul><ul><li>Who might watch this kind of show? (age, gender, social class, ethnicity, interest groups, etc) </li></ul><ul><li>What uses and gratifications might this show provide for its audience? </li></ul><ul><li>Does this tell us anything about the </li></ul><ul><li>rise of the genre and its increase in </li></ul><ul><li>popularity over time? </li></ul>