Stage – for example, new mothers (can be a range of ages but their ‘stage’ of life unites them) or students
Sci fi audience theories
Science Fiction Films
The audience is the people who watch the film.
• Different films will have different audiences.
Not everybody will watch the same film. The
audience who watches Gravity may be very
different to the audience who watches Big
• Films can have a primary (main) audience,
teens, for example, and a secondary
audience like older people.
• The primary or main audience is often called
the TARGET audience.
Mainstream or niche?
• Some science fiction films are mainstream –
they appeal to a very wide range of people.
• Hollywood films are often very mainstream –
they need to appeal to a lot of people to
make enough money.
• Some sci-fi films are more niche – they
appeal only to a small group of people.
• Independent and low-budget films may be
niche. They are not under pressure to appeal
to everyone, so they can be more unusual or
take more risks.
Segmentation and the target
Sci-fi films are designed and marketed to appeal to
different types of people.
Producers 'segment' the audience into different
groups, and aim their product at one segment.
This is their target market or target audience.
Audiences can be broken down into segments by
demographics or psychographics.
• Demographics is one way of dividing up the
audience into certain groups. Each group is
assumed to have similar ideas and interests.
Marketers use this idea of demographic groups
to target advertising and promotion.
• What is your demographic?
o Gender: Female
o Age / stage: 15
o Occupation: School
o Region / location: London
o Ethnicity: White British
o Any other key aspects?
o -Hobbies, Personality and interests
The BBFC classification is based on the demographics of age. It
assumes that certain films are only suitable for certain age groups.
• Suitable for all
• Parental Guidance
• Suitable for 12 years and over
• Suitable for 15 years and over
• Suitable only for adult
Demographics and psychographic
Profile a typical science fiction film fan, and explain
why you think a typical fan would be like this.
• Demographics: gender; age / stage; occupation;
region; ethnicity; any other key aspects?
Psychographics: survivors, social climbers, care
Psychographics is less about facts such as age, and more
about attitudes and values. The audience can be divided up
into categories like:
• Survivors: who like security and routine
• Social climbers: who like material wealth and status
• Care givers: who believe in ‘caring and sharing’
• Explorers: who are interested in personal growth and
Which one are you?
Uses and Gratifications
This is a media studies theory that tries to
explain why people choose and use certain
media products. The theory says that we use
them to satisfy various needs.
The theory is also known as the Four Needs
theory. It was developed by Blumler and Katz.
Uses and gratifications
Entertainment and diversion – taking you away from your own
problems and your own world for a while – escapism, to give you some
excitement and drama in your life, to stop you being bored.
Surveillance and information – finding out about new things
and places, scientific possibilities and problems, helping you to get
knowledge about science, the world and what is happening.
Personal identity – comparing yourself to people in films,
wondering how would you react to the same situation, thinking about how
you feel about various issues and conflicts.
Personal companionship – getting accustomed to the
characters as if they are friends; getting involved in the plot and wanting
to find out what happens to people; discussing films and their issues with
other people, having something to talk about with other people.
What 'need' is being fulfilled by sci-
One need that all films must fulfil is entertainment.
They are part of the entertainment industry!
But films may also fulfils other needs too. Audiences
might select different films according to how much
of their other needs it fulfils. Some films offer more
opportunity to consider perosnal identity, while
others build a strong sense of community and team
Dyer’s Utopian Solutions
Dyer suggested that the media fulfils our needs, and compensates for what
we are lacking in our own lives. For example, the exhausted office worker
might watch lots of shows where the hero shows immense energy in
chasing villains and fighting bad guys; the lonely person might watch lots
of soap operas to gain a sense of community, and so on. The five main
solutions the media can offer us are:
• Transparency – finding out what is really happening, seeing behind the
scenes, seeing into hidden or private places.
• Energy – seeing people involved in very energetic activities, including
• Intensity – the emotional drama and excitement of conflict, arguments,
tension and suspense, life and death situations.
• Community – working as a team, having a group of friends, neighbours,
a community who need you.
• Abundance – the plentiful supply of money or material goods such as
clothes, technology, cars.
Dyer’s Utopian Solutions in
science fiction films
• Transparency – seeing what the government is really
up to, how technology is controlling us or taking over ….
• Energy – watching the hero chase the villain, fight the
• Intensity – Will the hero save the world? Will the hero
live or die? Conflict and suspense.
• Community – working as a team, having a sidekick,
fighting on behalf of your people, your community, your
nation, your planet.
• Abundance – the plentiful supply of technology,
weapons, ammunition, fast cars, helicopters, equipment,
gadgets, whatever the hero needs…
What pleasures do science fiction
films offer their audience?
• Interesting ideas and perspectives (intensity).
• Spectacular special effects and action
sequences (energy and intensity).
• Escapism from everyday life (intensity and
• Seeing the hero fighting against alien races or
other powerful forces and ultimately winning
(intensity and abundance).
• Sacrifice and heroism (intensity and community).
• Seeing authorities being in the wrong
(transparency and community).
• Look at the website for Star Wars. What kind of audience will it attract? Create
a demographic and psychographic profile for the likely target audience. Give
Age: 12-30 because this film is so universal anyone could enjoy it however these
ages are the prime attraction.
Gender: Male mostly however females too. Males are mostly more interested in
space and sci fi.
Class: Middle plus
• What uses and gratifications does it fulfil?
It fulfils entertainment as it presents the film to be exciting and fulfilling. The plot is
allowing people to forget about there own life and to engage in someone else's
It also is apart of personal companionship- the people watching the film will
become so interested that the can build their own friendships by discussing it.
Summary – explain these terms
• The BBFC- A classification based on the age the film is suitable for e.g. PG-
parental guidance for under 8.
• Segmentation- The audience is divided into different groups (segments) and
often the film is aimed to one segment.
• Target audience- The segment the film is targeted to (age, gender ect.)
• Mainstream- Films often apply to a wide range of people
(mainstreamers)e.g. Hollywood films
• Niche- Films targeted to a smaller segment (a niche) e.g. low budget films
• Demographics- Audience demographics is the general information about
the target audience e.g. age gender location
• Psychographics- The personalities the film is targeted to e.g. social climbers
• Uses and gratifications- The theory that all films provide at least one of-
entertainment, Information, Identity and Communication allowing the film to
engage with the audience.
• Utopian solutions- Media fulfils what is lacking in our own life e.g. energy