HUNTER COLLEGE, CUNY Television and audiences Fall 2011 A Digital Journal By Belay W/mariamJersey Shore, Reality TV, and Audience Engagement.
Audience Engagement on Reality TV.• I think, we all agree that Television is in a period of dramatic change. As the mass audience continues to fragment into ever-smaller niche audiences and different communities of interest, and new technologies shift control over the television viewing experience from network programmers into the hands of media consumers, televisions traditional business models prove themselves increasingly untenable.• The single most important concept in this new industrial discourse is that of “engagement", a term that has generated a tremendous amount of debate and disagreement, with television and advertising executives, as well as brought several interesting discussions in this media class. Thus I like to understand what engagement is, how it works, and what its practical consequences on TV Shows will be, by focusing on Reality TV and using The Jersey Show as a case study. Audience Engagement has been key to the success of television for decades. However, there have been issues in the past few years due to stories of broadcasters have found it difficult to maintain the relationship with their audience. This I believe brings back an old problem with new context.
To sum up my idea: one of the main argument and claim made by many mediaindustry insiders, scholars, journalists, and participants is that the main reason forthe success of Reality TV is it’s participatory and engaging future of the shows. Myfinal research project will review this main argument about Reality TV as aparticipatory Medium and investigates evidence in the following three key areas: 1.Modes of Engagement; 2. Engagement Platform; 3. Engagement Measurement.The method: I will use Jersey Shore as a case study and I will pose as one of theJersey Shore fans and remain engaged until the end of the semester. Please, notethat my findings will be constantly updated and documented at our class Blog site,www.digitalbydesien.wordpress.com, as Digital Journal Format
Modes of communications such as the phone and letters became outdated and even at that time had their limitations in terms of how programe makers could respond to viewers and how quickly. In an attempt to update these models, television executives are attempting to shed televisions long-standing reputation as a passive medium, which emphasized the viewers role as a consumer of television content, but the current Multi medium TV viewing as an active, convenient, and more quality programming.• Based on my literary review, the current discourse on engagement suggests that televisions future now relies on the industrys success recasting it as an active medium, capable of capturing and holding the audiences attention, and effective at generating emotional and financial investment. For example, The Jersey Shore Show:
The Jersey Shore Show: Jersey Shore is a reality television series that premieredon MTV on December 3, 2009 in the United States. The series follows the lives ofeight housemates spending their summer at the Jersey Shore. Season 2 followedthe cast escaping the cold northeast winter to Miami Beach, with Season 3returning to the Jersey Shore. The fourth season, filmed in Italy, premiered onAugust 4, 2011. MTV confirmed in June 2011 that Season 5 will return to SeasideHeights.The show debuted amid large amounts of controversy regarding the use of thewords "Guido/Guidette," portrayals of Italian Americans stereotypes, and scrutinyfrom locals because the cast members were not residents of the area.Dubbed a cultural phenomenon, the series has garnered record ratings for MTV,making it the networks most viewed series telecast ever. The series cast has alsobeen credited with introducing unique lexicon and phrases into American PopularCulture, much like Seinfeld was in the 1990s, it has even been dubbed theSeinfeld of the 2010s, and the University of Chicago has announced anacademic conference that will examine the show. In 2010, the cast of JerseyShore was named on Barbara Walters’ 10 Most fascinating People list. The serieshas since exported to dozens of countries worldwide.
1. Modes of Engagement on Reality TV:• “Casting Shirley Partridge: The Reality TV Audience as Talent Scout”• Posted by Mary Beth Haralovich / University of Arizona on November 5th, 2004 9 Comments Printer-Friendly• Reality television is developing a new force on the creative side of television production as the TV audience joins television executives in the creation of entertainment programming. Bridges between entertainment and audience have always been fundamental to show business, and reality TV is taking audience participation to new heights.• Reality TV has already broken down the distance between audience and performer. Reality TV players (”player” here taken to mean both game player and stage performer) are different from movie and TV stars. The reality TV player is familiar, more ordinary than extraordinary.
Instant celebrity: Reality television has the potential to turnits participants into national Celebrities, at least for a shortperiod. Many shows such as Survivor, Big Brother, andJersy Shore have made at least temporary celebrities out oftheir participants; some participants have then been able toparlay this fame into media or other careers.
Here, it is important to note that there has been some creatisismagaint Reality TV has been made, such as, "Reality" as misnomer.Some also suggested that the realty shows take place in unrealenvironments. Reality casting can generate critique of social categories andassumptions and players ask the audience to recognize the typesthat they embody and to disengage preconceptions aboutstereotypes.
The Cast• Angelina Pivarnick• Season1 and 2 from Staten Island, New York, Polish-Italian American Pivarnick is a New York City bartender. She starts out the season with a serious relationship at home, but the two break up in episode 3, which indirectly leads to her eviction from the shore house after refusing to work her shift in the T-shirt shop.• Pivarnik again departed the house during Season 2, after violent confrontations with Mike and Nicole. She did not return for Season 3. She calls herself the "Kim Kardasian of Staten Island," but is mocked by other cast members as the "Staten Island dump" or the "Rob Kardashian of Staten Island.
Deena Nicole Catese, Season 3-present New Egypt, New Jersey, Italian AmericanCortese, a longtime friend of Polizzi, had originally auditioned forseason 1 and been rejected. She eventually joins the cast startingin season 3. She describes herself as a "blast
Jennifer Farley"JWoww" Franklin Square, New York Irish-Spanish American Farley is agraphic designer and club promoter from Franklin Square, New York.During the casting process, she states, "I thought the guys would beenormous and really mean, and I thought the girls would be catty andoverdone." She enters the shore house with a steady relationship athome but cheats on her boyfriend with castmate DelVecchio and endsher relationship in season 3 episode 4 for different reasons. Farley hashad breast augmentation surgery, which she got as a birthday present toherself just before turning 21.
Michael Sorrentino"The Situation" Staten Islad, New York Italian American Sorrentino, anassistant manager of a fitness center in Saten Island, develops an attractiontowards Giancola, which does not come into fruition when she becomesinterested in fellow castmate Ortiz-Magro. Sorrentino worked as an exoticdancer in 2004. In the 2010 season of Dancing with the Stars, he partneredwith Karina Smirnoff, but was eliminated in week
Nicole Polizzi"Snooki" Marlboro, New York Chilean (adopted by Italian family) and is anaspiring veterinarian technician. She applied to an ad on Facebook thatsaid "Calling all guidos and guidettes," which Polizzi said, "was definitelyabout my lifestyle." Polizzi earned the nickname "Snooki" in middle schoolafter being the first of her friends to "make out" with a boy. She becamethe center of controversy when a man punched her in her face during abar confrontation. Polizzi was arrested by Seaside police on July 30, 2010on public intoxication charges, which were later dropped. She previouslysuffered from an eating disorder in high school.
Paul DelVecchio"Pauly D" Johnston, Rhode Island Italian American DelVecchio is a discjockey from outside of Providence. He strikes up a brief romance withfellow castmate Farley but the relationship does not progress. DelVecchiowas nominated for the 2010 "Americas Best DJ" competition. Ronnie Ortiz-MagroFrom Bronx, New York Puerto Rican-Italian American Ortiz-Magro is from.He strikes up a relationship with castmate Giancola. Sammi Giancola"Sweetheart" Hazlet, New Jersey Italian American Giancola is from and isrecently single at the start of the series. She attended William PatersonUnivercity and was a midfielder on the womens soccer team. Giancolaultimately strikes up a relationship with fellow castmate Ortiz-Magro inseason 1 episode 3.
Vinny Guadagnino Staten Island, New York Sicilian American 21-year-old. Guadagnino comes froma traditional Italian American family in Staten Island A graduate of the Paltz whohad plans to attendlow school if acting did not work out. Guadagnino appliedafter a friend sent him an application asking for "the orangest, most muscley,spiky-haired people", which Guadagnino filled out "as a joke." Describing firstmeeting his castmates, he says, "I see Pauly and his spiky hair and his wholeguido look. Great, they found the most stereotypical kid. Then Snooki seems likea train wreck. But you realize were all starting this crazy new adventure."Guadagnino is an advocate for disenfranchised communities including LGBTteens and homeless animals. He has appeared in a PSA for the It gets BetterProject and has rescued and found homes for many animals in his localcommunity. Guadagnino guest stars in The Hard Times of RJ Berger in episode,"Cousin Vinny" on March 28, 2011.
Controversy of Jersey ShoreMTV received criticism from Italian American organizations for the way in whichthey marketed the show, as it liberally used the word Guido to describe the castmembers. The term guido is generally regarded as an ethnic slur when referringto Italians and Italian Americans. One promotion stated that the show was tofollow, "eight of the hottest, tannest, craziest Guidos," while yet anotheradvertisement stated, "[the show] exposes one of the tri-state areas mostmisunderstood species... the GUIDO. Yes, they really do exist! Our Guidos andGuidettes will move into the ultimate beach house rental and indulge ineverything the Seaside Heights, New Jersey scene has to offer." Cast membersSnooki and Jwow are not ethnically Italian. Snooki is Chilean, but was adopted asan infant by Italian American parents. Jwow is Irish and Spanish.
Prior to the series debut, UNICO NATIONAL formally requested that MTV cancel theshow. In a letter to the network, UNICO called the show a "...direct, deliberate anddisgraceful attack on Italian Americans..." UNICO National President Andre DiMino saidin a statement "MTV has festooned the bordello-like house set with Italian flags andgreen, white and red maps of New Jersey while every other cutaway shot is of Italiansigns and symbols. They are blatantly as well as subliminally bashing Italian-Americanswith every technique possible..." Around this time, other Italian-Americanorganizations joined the fight, including the NIAF the Order Sons of Italy and theinternet watch-dog Italian Aware.MTV responded to the controversy by issuing a press release which stated in part, "theItalian-American cast takes pride in their ethnicity. We understand that this show is notintended for every audience and depicts just one aspect of youth culture." Since thecalls for the shows removal, several sponsors have requested that their ads not beaired during the show. These sponsors include Dell, Dominos and American FamilyInsurance.
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Blogore , “Sanjay “Social Media & TV – A Match Made in Heaven” ( July 22,2011 )“The social networks have been a god-send to the TV networks and producers.Despite what you might think, about old media being over-shadowed by ‘newmedia’, the new is actually helping the old out. Twitter and Facebook have beeninstrumental in providing television programmes with new ways ofbuilding relationships with viewers. Providing real time feedback not only whena programme is on-air but all day everyday, tapping inthe communication addictions within us all.”
Modes if Audience Engagment This paper seeks to recontextualise keyfindings from recent studies of reality TV audiences in light of insights drawnfrom across the wider field. It suggests that modes of engagement andresponse adopted by different reality TV audiences appear broadly consistentwith those identified in relation to a wide variety of genres viewed in diversenational contexts, as chartedin the Composite Multi-dimensional Model of audience reception (Michelle2007).
“ This thesis argues that televisions future as an engagement medium reliesnot on inventing new methodologies that define engagement in terms ofquantifiable audience behaviors and attitudes, but instead in a newconceptual model of television, better suited to a multi platform mediaenvironment and the emerging attention and experience economies, whichfocuses on the development of television programs that extend beyond thetelevision set. Such a model must understand television not as a method for aggregratingaudiences that can be sold to advertisers, but as a medium that draws uponmedia platforms, content, products, activities and social spaces to provideaudiences with a range of opportunities to engage with television content.Accordingly, this thesis offers a framework for thinking about viewerengagement as the range of opportunities and activities that become possiblewhen drawing upon an expanded, multi-platform conception of the moderntelevision text. Applying this framework to the innovative and experimentaltextual extensions developed around ABCs Lost, the thesis indicates both thechallenges and opportunities that emerge as television becomes anengagement medium.” (Gloto Co-Founder and CEO Eric Con)
2. Engagement Platform: Maximizing Audience Engagement on The Jersey Show:• How to engage customers with content through social media, websites, smartphones, and tablets, whenever or wherever it is aired Stations can boost their audience engagement and even sponsorship revenues with the Twitter.
Mobile, Social Integral to TV Audience Engagement - AdrantsAudiences are watching TV, streaming video on the web and doing mobile“check-ins” on the go. How can you be sure your message is impacting theright audience on the right platform in the right place at the right time?
Twitter is over capacity .Twitter is over capacity.
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Jersey Shore fan clubJersey Shore FansiteJersey Shore fanfiction Drama/RomanceJersey Shore Quiz …Jersey Shore Game
Findings:Evaluate the role of advertising.Limited promotion displayed on mobile andweb.
3. Additional Engagement Metrics: Measuring Audience Engagement.• Depending on how your company or brand is engaging in social media, there may be other metrics that should be factored into audience engagement. The additional metrics will likely come from the various social media channels that are outside of the ones listed above. These could include Diggs, Stumble Upon likes, LinkedIn group activity or followers, social bookmarks,…
Measuring Audience Engagement in Social MediaNathan Linnell, June 28, 2010 0 CommentsEngaging with an audience is at the core of any company or brands objectives for takingpart in social media, even if its not one of the ultimate goals of their social mediaprogram. The ultimate goal may be sales, sign-ups, increased customer satisfaction, orany number of other goals, but audience engagement will always play a crucial role inattaining those goals.Audience engagement is likely at the core of every good social media program, sounderstanding how to measure it is essential. Because there arent any standards orwidely accepted calculations for audience engagement, or for that matter most socialmedia metrics, there ends up being differing definitions, depending on who you ask.The metrics listed below are by no means an exhaustive list, because the type of socialmedia program thats being run will likely factor into what metrics are used for theaudience engagement calculation. For example, if YouTube isnt part of the social mediacampaign, then YouTube engagement metrics isnt going to be applicable.Each of the metrics below can also be used in other calculations to get even greaterinsights, but for the purpose of this column, Ill stick to using them as part of a totalaudience engagement metric.
Twitter RetweetsSimply looking at the volume of tweets your company or brand puts out isfairly meaningless because you generally want to engage your audience andnot broadcast to them. Because of that, looking at the number of retweetswill begin to shed light on the relevancy of your tweets in the eyes of youraudience and allow you to understand what gets your audience engaging withyour company or brand.Twitter @TweetsBeyond just showing that they enjoy and get value out of your company orbrands tweets, an @tweet is a prime example of an audience member whohas the desire to directly engage with your company or brand. This is trulywhere an engagement can lead to developing or enhancing a relationship.
YouTube Video InteractionsThis is a metric that is a rollup of video comments, favorites, and ratings.Similar to Facebook interactions, YouTube video interactions measure howwell your company or brands videos move viewers beyond watching avideo to then engage with it.YouTube Channel InteractionsAs the name indicates, a YouTube channel interaction is a similar metric tovideo interactions, except it relates to your company or brand channel as awhole instead of videos. This is again a rollup metric that includes channelcomments and channel favorites. This metric gives excellent insights intounderstanding if viewers are moving beyond engaging with just anindividual video to instead making a more personal connection by engagingmore at the company or
Social Media Brand MentionsThere are a lot of engagement opportunities that can take place outside theleading social media channels. Measuring these is also important tounderstanding the overall level of audience engagement thats taking placearound your company or brand.An example would be tracking the number of engagements that take place inReality TV Shoes, such as The Jersey Show.