Thursday, 12 April 2012

Blogging on AUDIENCE

See coursework guide section, and use the audience tag.
The BritishCinema blog tag on audience (and more) too.

The DCMS (UK government Department for Culture, Media, Sport) did a lengthy report on film audience in 2012.

The BFI also gives data on how populare genres are, very useful for audience research too. From 2013:
You can see why the hybrid rom-com is preferred to the romance film!
From Sophie's research (I can't find the report link), a great table breaking down audience demographics and genre:

Written for A2 work, so the example comes from that, but generally most of this applies to you guys as well...

I've covered aspects of this in many posts - use the Q3 links list, and look at past egs linked in Q3 guide for example.
Lets take one of the better examples I've seen and consider any issues that prevent it from being assessed as excellent (criteria: 'research into a similar target audience')
Here's RobS's post on audience (NB: when copy/pasted I thought I'd better check font size + sure enough, as copied it came in as small; I also adjusted the colour from grey to black - you've got to look out for this when sharing posts. I've also had to move a few pics to try to make it fit in my blog's frame width, but its still pushed out wider than my frame):

RS - Target Audience

Primary Audience - 15-24

The main target audience for Muse is in the 15-24 category. As Muse gained in popularity their music moved further and further away from their roots towards the mainstream resulting in being named "sell outs", losing hardcore fans each album but gaining more of the mainstream fans as they gained in popularity. Because of this shift in the sound of the music and the movement towards the mainstream they appealed more to the younger audiences who were interested in their type of music. 

Magazines such as Kerrang who are aimed at the teenager audience review the bands albums and recent live performances meaning that they get seen by readers of the magazine. As they get featured more often they appeal more and more to the magazines target audience. NME who are aimed at a more mainstream teenage audience unlike Kerrang who are aimed at the rock/metal genre. As Muse gained in popularity they moved away from Kerrang's type of music and further towards NME where they get featured very often in the magazine as well as being featured in online polls etc. The band even got their own Special Collector's Edition NME Magazine just for the band featuring 100+ pages just about them.

Secondary Audience - 25-40

Since the release of Origin of Symmetry (2001) the audience who listened to the band back then are now 10 years older meaning that a large amount of the audience fits into this category. Q magazine is aimed at the older generation where the secondary audience is located. The secondary audience for Muse is also defined by the fact that the older generations children listen to the band and ultimatley they end up listening to them too.

The Classic Rock Magazine produce a small niche sub-genre magazine based on the Progressive-Rock genre. Muse coming from prog-rock roots therefore fit into this category, this means that they appeal to fans of the prog-rock genre. Typically this audience is 40+ due to the fact that Prog-rock was big in the late 60s/early 70s from bands such as Rush or King Crimson. Today the genre has pretty much died out with only a few small bands such as Porcupine Tree or Tool still keeping to the genre. Muse have very clear influences from the genre meaning they appeal to the older generation who are into that genre. This means that they are appealing to this audience and expanding their appeal over many generations.

Okay, lets consider the upsides:
  • MULTIMEDIA: embedded links aplenty + relevant images
  • LAYOUT: (within his blog frame width) neatly laid out, no excessive/random blank space, an attempt at sub-headings
  • EVIDENCE: there is some evidence offered up, not just Rob's hunch; he links target audience to prominent, frequent appearances in magazines and sets out their target audience
  • MULTIPLE AUDIENCES: addresses both primary/core and secondary/crossover audiences
That's what I'd write up as 'fairly proficient' (MBPE); its pretty good but missing elements which would secure it as definitely proficient, or perhaps excellent. What?
  • MULTIMEDIA/PRIMARY RESEARCH: in some ways the key thing: no video content. Note I've put 2 things here, including 'primary research', by which I mean original, unique research (secondary research is using existing materials - books, web resources etc; egs of primary would be opinion polls, content analysis, semiotic analysis). There are some good past examples of this; very few from this year. You want to initially establish that there is some brand/band recognition amongst your initial target audience (a draft audience essentially until you've researched whether your act/track will work with/has appeal for that audience), which you can do with simple questionnaires (visual stimulus Qs are key), playing track; can also be wider based, looking for confirmation of interest in the genre within your stipulated audience.
  • LAYOUT: simple points: use the caption tool; make sub-headings stand out as I do
  • EVIDENCE: the video points are relevant here, but also using + quoting these magazines' published statements about/guides to their target audience would help enormously (publishers have to provide this for advertisers so that they can intelligently target their advertising, a task you yourselves have with reference to the mag ads). You might also try google/newspaper/magazine searches and see whats been written about this band/genre's audience (books as well as articles) - widening the secondary research.
  • MULTIPLE AUDIENCES: distinguishing between the mags cited is useful, and would enable this group to consider targeted + differentiated ads, something I've recommended you all do (initial teaser style + main; or simply plainer + more complex ads) - you can find each mag's fees for full/half... etc page ads, and produce different size ads too. What's missing though is a more detailed demographic breakdown: differentiate/discuss appeal to M/F; homo/heterosexual; ABC1/C2DE; Caucasian/ethnic minority etc. Not every demographic is necessarily relevant, but its worth breaking down - again, links to potential video-based evidence. Can you say you've done any research to back up your claim that a certain age is core, with diminishing appeal to younger/older? 
  • PROFILE: you may have done this (some of you have) for your treatment: a pen profile of a typical audience member(s - maybe 1M/1F) - an actual photo + breakdown of the characteristics/wider interests/cultural tastes of this individual, an idealised, archetype of the fanbase/target audience
  • THEORY: with the above point you could draw upon Bourdieu's theory of cultural capital (which I've blogged on), but there are so many opportunities here not just to artificially insert theories + terminology, but to really engage with and apply some of these (which will greatly assist your exam efforts). Consider, for example, what motivation your textual ideas might offer up to an active audience if you apply the uses + gratifications model (which I've multiply blogged on) 
How much of this have YOU done?
Do you think YOUR work merits MBPE?
Have YOU got a credible links list on audience research other than direct feedback on cuts/drafts?
Think how easy it is to generate some video evidence of suitable research - so long as you can upload it at home or school (every computer has some basic video editing software), its not necessarily important whether its a smartphone camera or HD!
Similar points apply to work on 'organisation of actors, locations...' - too little explicit evidence of much beyond 'this was close by/convenient' or 'we knew and they were available' or 'it just so happened what they wore on the day suited our ideas'!!!!

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