Learning Outcome Two: Media products and audiencesThere is a large market of documentaries out there already covering a large variety of topics andgenres which is why it’s more important than ever for documentary producers to produce andmarket their documentary uniquely (to stand out from other documentary’s covering the sametopic) and make it appeal to their target audience as much as possible.To show you the importance of documentaries being produced and marketed to appeal to theiraudiences I will use two different documentaries to compare as I explain how they appeal to theirtarget audiencesDocumentary One: BBC panorama North Koreahttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zDYrFE985gDocumentary Two: Walking with Dinosaurshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sPDLQL2SpoPanorama:The original target audience for Panorama were seekers (people who seek information andunderstanding of matters), journalists and students aged 18+. The reason for this target audience isbecause Panorama is a TV programme which investigates into all kinds of things all over the world(usually uncovering dark secrets). The programme is structured on journalism, rather than newsreaders reading a script, you have journalists reporting to the views on TV talking about matters thatthey really care about and understand personally. This is more appealing to the target audiencebecause it makes them feel like the journalist is talking about something they truly understandrather than them reading from a script.Panorama in a way is essentially a news programme; however it usually focuses on one story in eachepisode. This is why journalists would take interest, perhaps looking for stories to write about intheir blogs or magazines, or maybe they are just watching the programme because they aspire to it.The seekers (people who seek information and understanding) take interest in the documentarybecause it informs them of things that are going on in the UK or world that they may not knowabout. Panorama has an almost similar target audience to BBC news the only difference is thatPanorama draws its target audience in by going into more depth on individual stories (usuallycovering one story in a single documentary).However, the Panorama documentary I am discussing (North Korea) had a much larger targetaudience and audience than the standard Panorama documentary. There were two key reasons whythis documentary received a larger amount of views from their target audience and audience thanusual.
Reason One: The first reason this documentary had a larger target audience was because two weeksbefore this documentary was aired newspapers and media were releasing news bulletins talkingabout North Korea tensions increasing between USA and South Korea, in the following days tensionsincreased and North Korea closed its border and advised tourists to leave the country. Since thenthere has been barely any video media coverage of what’s going on in North Korea. That was untilthe BBC revealed that their documentary programme “Panorama” was about to air a specialdocumentary about North Korea that was filmed there just before the borders closed.This generated allot of interest across the country and USA too because it would be showing footageof what was going on in North Korea.The documentary was advertised (which is rare for BBC to do)on BBC channels and especially after BBC news programmes which is what allot of Panorama’starget audience watch as well, this consisted of seekers (people who seek information andunderstanding of matters) and journalists. The BBC weren’t the only ones advertising thisdocumentary though. It was headlining in newspapers such as “The sun” and “The Sunday times”.The news media empire generated allot of interest for this documentary creating a much largertarget audience and audience for this documentary.The documentary producer was very clever in the way that they held on to the documentary for awhile rather than airing it straight away they waited until North Korea had closed their borders (sothere was no longer any decent news video coverage if at all) and waited until tensions hadincreased more. Then they gave out a week advance announcement saying what the Panoramadocumentary would be covering. By doing this they gave themselves a week of mass publicity withhelp from the news media empire.The documentary producers grabbed the target audience’s attention or this documentary bychoosing the right moment (when there was minimal media coverage of inside North Korea) and theexclusivity of their documentary.Reason Two: The second reason this documentary received a much larger target audience andaudience was because of the scandal that appeared all over newspapers and TV news shows. Thisscandal was that the BBC Panorama documentary in North Korea had used students from the UK toget into North Korea (going undercover as a University trip). The students said they hadn’t beeninformed properly about the scale of danger they were putting themselves in until they arrived atNorth Korea. You may think this is bad publicity for the Panorama documentary but it wasn’t. Itactually boosted the audience for the documentary because not only did the target audience andaudience want to see what was going on in North Korea but they also wanted to see for themselveshow the students had been used for the undercover filming in the documentary.The documentary was aired on BBC1 at 8:30pm Monday 15thApril 2013. The TV channel (BBC1) wasthe only choice of channel the producer had because their TV documentary series was funded by theBBC. They could have gone with BBC2, BBC3, BBC4 ect but they all have less views than BBC1 whichis the prime BBC channel. Not to mention the fact that BBC1 is accessible by anyone with a TV andTV licence rather than channels such as BBC3 or BBC4 which require a Freeview digital box set toview them.The chosen time of the day for airing the documentary was chosen very well because between 7pmand 9pm is prime viewing (most amount of views at once for TV channels) time for TV on weekdays.
The main reasons this documentary was aired at this time of day was firstly because the targetaudience for the documentary was a mature aged group (16+ anyone below would be bored, notfully understanding what was going on). The second reason this time was the best suited time forairing the documentary is because everyone has come home from a day at work (finishing usually at5:30-6:30 pm so they can sit down in front of the TV.Walking with dinosaurs:Walking with Dinosaurs is a six-part documentary television miniseries that was produced by BBC,narrated by Kenneth Branagh, and first aired in the United Kingdom, in 1999. The documentaryshowcases prehistoric dinosaurs and uses visual animation to show (fake) footage of dinosaurs.The target audience for this TV documentary is a young aged target audience (10+). Using thePhysiographic graph I would say that the target audience for this documentary series would be theExplorers category which consists of people seeking discovery (for example, students, historians,scientists’ ect).The documentary producers were very clever in the way they captivated their target audience, theyand two mass target audiences watching their target audience. One being young aged individuals(aged 10+). The other target audience being an older aged group of individuals (18+).The documentary producers managed to keep a perfect balance in their documentary series to keepboth target audiences captivated. To keep the older audience captivated the documentary hadstrong facts about dinosaurs included so it wasn’t boring theories.The technique they used which I like the most (mainly because I have never seen this method usedin a documentary) was to make video animations of dinosaurs to entertain the younger targetaudience and keep them captivated rather than looking at dull fossils and listening to boring facts(which is how the younger target audience would have felt about it).The first episode of the Walking with Dinosaurs documentary series was aired at 6pm on Saturday16thApril 1999, and aired the rest of the episodes every next Saturday. The documentary series wasaired on BBC1 because of the same reasons as the Panorama documentary.The chosen day and time for airing the documentary was great, because it was well suited to theyounger and older target audience. Most children aged between 10 and 14 are usually getting readyfor bed, if not already in bed at around 8pm, which is why airing the documentary at 6pm was bestsuited for both target audiences. For example if they had aired it at the same time as Panorama(8:30) allot of the young target audience would be in bed losing the documentary allot of viewers.Saturday evening/ afternoon TV is the time when the highest amounts of people are watching TV, sothis was a well-chosen day for airing the documentary because its the best day of the week to reacha peak amount of viewers. For example if Panorama documentaries were aired on Saturdays ratherthan Mondays they would have a much larger audience and target audience watching them.
Audience QuestionnairesI asked 10 people who have watched both of these documentaries to fill in an audienceQuestionnaire (times two questionnaires per person, one for each documentary).Audience Questionnaire templates (used for both documentaries):1: Do you feel that this documentary haschosen the target audience that is best suitedto it?YesNo2: Do you feel that this documentary hasmade itself appealing to its target audience ?is there room for improvement?YesNoYes, but room for improvement3: Was the Documentary aired on TV at asuitable time and day for the target audience?YesNo4: Did the documentary market/ advertiseitself clearly enough if at all?YesNoYes, but room for improvement
Panorama North Korea questionnaire feedback:Do you feel that this documentary haschosen the target audience that is best suitedfor it.YesNoDo you feel that this documentary has madeitself appealing to its target audience? Isthere room for improvement?YesNoYes, but room for improvement
Walking with Dinosaurs documentary questionnaire feedback:Was the documentary aired on TV at asuitable time and day for the targetaudience?YesNoDid the documentary market/ advertise itselfclearly enough if at all?YesNoYes, but oom for improvement
Do you feel that this documentary haschosen the target audience that is best suitedfor it.YesNoDo you feel that this documentary has madeitself appealing to its target audience? Isthere room for improvement?YesNoYes, but room for improvement
Was the documentary aired on TV at asuitable time and day for the targetaudience?YesNoDid the documentary market/ advertise itselfclearly enough if at all?YesNoYes, but oom for improvement