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Audience Behaviour Theory

1) RICHARD DYER’S UTOPIAN SOLUTIONS THEORY
   This suggests states that people will respond to a message if it offers them
   compensation for the inadequacies in their own lives. This is his ‘Utopian Solutions’
   theory:

Inadequacy        Poverty            Confusion          Exhaustion         Isolation
Solution          Abundance          Clarity            Energy             Community

If we tired to fit an anti-smoking campaign to this, there would be clear motives we could
offer, based on theory, e.g. gain money, understand the facts, gain energy, join a quit club.

2) ABRAHAM MASLOW
   … stated that we all have the same 8 basic needs. Therefore if your production targets
   these, you will have a greater chance of success. The top four needs are (in descending
   order):
Biological- our need to survive, e.g. food, air, water, reproduction
Safety- offering assurance of safety, to health, psychologically, and through quality
Affiliation- the need to belong to a group
Esteem- our need to feel good about ourselves.
Can you present any of these to your audience in order to make them listen to your
message?

3) BLUMLER & KATZ USES AND GRATIFICATIONS THEORY
They also agreed that audiences make active choices over what they view/read/listen to
etc. They suggested that audiences are more likely to consume the media if it meets some
of these needs:

   • INFORM and EDUCATE
   • IDENTIFY personally
   • ENTERTAINE
   • SOCIAL INTERACTION
   • ESCAPE
Different audience groups respond to different motives, e.g. teenagers are more likely
to respond to a message offering a loss (threat) or gain (offer) relating to image. Elderly
people are more likely to respond to an offer of quality or simplicity. University students
are likely to respond to a motive relating to freedom, individuality, enjoyment and so on.

Similarly, different methods of delivering the message/motive should be used,
depending upon the audience, e.g.:
   • Teenagers respond to shock tactics or humour more, as these take into account the
      extremity and focus of teens’ own lifestyles/experiences;
   • The elderly are more likely to respond to overt (clear and obvious) messages;
   • Women are more likely to respond to emotional material;
   • Men are more likely to respond to factual material;
   • Adults are used to being offered a choice and made to think;
   • Teens are more used to being told what is right and respond to instructions rather
      than choice;
   • Educated audiences respond to subliminal targeting, where the message needs to
      be thought about before it becomes clear.

If your animation revolves around delivering a message based upon health, for example,
you need to decide whether shock tactics are appropriate, or humour, or loss motives
(negative- threatening, forceful), gain motives (positive, idealised, desirable), instruction
(ordering the audience to follow your message), thought provoking (making the audience
think about the information you give), emotional (playing on their emotions to make them
act), factual (giving information to make them act) and so on. The choice of delivery style
will depend upon the audience, but also the message.

Audience Interaction with a text:

Audiences are not passive- they are an active body, interacting with the texts and
bringing their own experiences and knowledge to it. This means that they actively
‘read’ the material they are presented with. Much of our knowledge in reading a text
comes from our experience of western societal images. For example, in western society,
the colour black is associated with death, power and negativity. This is not so in other
societies. We know this because the visual language of the media has taught us this from
an early age. Similarly, nasty people are usually men (!) with dark hair and victims are
usually petite females who are blond, etc. These are the conventions that we have grown
up with and this is the language you need to use. Although every member of your audience
is an individual, you can deliver a dominant reading through your animation design. A
dominant reading is the message that most of your audience will get from your techniques.
To create a dominant reading, you need to use conventional techniques to encode
your text. These will be read by your target audience, although most probably
subconsciously, and thus they will decode the meaning that you intend them to.
Additional Research:

If you need to find out which techniques your target audience will respond to, you could
carry out primary research using qualitative or quantitative research methods:
    • Quantitative- questionnaires based on specific design techniques, e.g. font, colour,
       camera angles etc and on the method of message delivery- e.g. do they respond to
       shock tactics, choice etc;
    • Qualitative- interviews in depth with a small sample of your target audience.
Quantitative data gives you a wide-ranging response, but is only in surface detail.
Qualitative data gives you a narrower field, but much more depth to your information.

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Audience behaviour theory

  • 1. Audience Behaviour Theory 1) RICHARD DYER’S UTOPIAN SOLUTIONS THEORY This suggests states that people will respond to a message if it offers them compensation for the inadequacies in their own lives. This is his ‘Utopian Solutions’ theory: Inadequacy Poverty Confusion Exhaustion Isolation Solution Abundance Clarity Energy Community If we tired to fit an anti-smoking campaign to this, there would be clear motives we could offer, based on theory, e.g. gain money, understand the facts, gain energy, join a quit club. 2) ABRAHAM MASLOW … stated that we all have the same 8 basic needs. Therefore if your production targets these, you will have a greater chance of success. The top four needs are (in descending order): Biological- our need to survive, e.g. food, air, water, reproduction Safety- offering assurance of safety, to health, psychologically, and through quality Affiliation- the need to belong to a group Esteem- our need to feel good about ourselves. Can you present any of these to your audience in order to make them listen to your message? 3) BLUMLER & KATZ USES AND GRATIFICATIONS THEORY They also agreed that audiences make active choices over what they view/read/listen to etc. They suggested that audiences are more likely to consume the media if it meets some of these needs: • INFORM and EDUCATE • IDENTIFY personally • ENTERTAINE • SOCIAL INTERACTION • ESCAPE
  • 2. Different audience groups respond to different motives, e.g. teenagers are more likely to respond to a message offering a loss (threat) or gain (offer) relating to image. Elderly people are more likely to respond to an offer of quality or simplicity. University students are likely to respond to a motive relating to freedom, individuality, enjoyment and so on. Similarly, different methods of delivering the message/motive should be used, depending upon the audience, e.g.: • Teenagers respond to shock tactics or humour more, as these take into account the extremity and focus of teens’ own lifestyles/experiences; • The elderly are more likely to respond to overt (clear and obvious) messages; • Women are more likely to respond to emotional material; • Men are more likely to respond to factual material; • Adults are used to being offered a choice and made to think; • Teens are more used to being told what is right and respond to instructions rather than choice; • Educated audiences respond to subliminal targeting, where the message needs to be thought about before it becomes clear. If your animation revolves around delivering a message based upon health, for example, you need to decide whether shock tactics are appropriate, or humour, or loss motives (negative- threatening, forceful), gain motives (positive, idealised, desirable), instruction (ordering the audience to follow your message), thought provoking (making the audience think about the information you give), emotional (playing on their emotions to make them act), factual (giving information to make them act) and so on. The choice of delivery style will depend upon the audience, but also the message. Audience Interaction with a text: Audiences are not passive- they are an active body, interacting with the texts and bringing their own experiences and knowledge to it. This means that they actively ‘read’ the material they are presented with. Much of our knowledge in reading a text comes from our experience of western societal images. For example, in western society, the colour black is associated with death, power and negativity. This is not so in other societies. We know this because the visual language of the media has taught us this from an early age. Similarly, nasty people are usually men (!) with dark hair and victims are usually petite females who are blond, etc. These are the conventions that we have grown up with and this is the language you need to use. Although every member of your audience is an individual, you can deliver a dominant reading through your animation design. A dominant reading is the message that most of your audience will get from your techniques. To create a dominant reading, you need to use conventional techniques to encode your text. These will be read by your target audience, although most probably subconsciously, and thus they will decode the meaning that you intend them to.
  • 3. Additional Research: If you need to find out which techniques your target audience will respond to, you could carry out primary research using qualitative or quantitative research methods: • Quantitative- questionnaires based on specific design techniques, e.g. font, colour, camera angles etc and on the method of message delivery- e.g. do they respond to shock tactics, choice etc; • Qualitative- interviews in depth with a small sample of your target audience. Quantitative data gives you a wide-ranging response, but is only in surface detail. Qualitative data gives you a narrower field, but much more depth to your information.