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The Media Studies Conference Wednesday 4 th July - Friday 6th July 2007 BFISouthbank,London

How to路 teach Audience VICTORIA ALLEN



The concept of audience??? 'Audience' is a key concept in Media Studies and this discussion is tailored towards helping you to help students fully grasp the fundamentals so that it can be easily linked to other key concepts and regularly applied to specific case studies. To do this we are going to investigate the following three areas:

1. Media Products and their target consumers -

what a target audience is what products are consumed and in what type of situations are they received how producers profile their target audience how producers of media texts research and measure audiences audience 'needs'

In this section we will talk about how to help students understand 'the target/intended' audience through a text's 'mode of address. We will also look at how audiences care classifiedlcategorised by the producers of texts by market research profiling and 'qualitative and quantitative methods' of research.

2. Theories on audiences what the theorists have told us about the effects of media texts on audiences and uses of media texts by audiences what the theorists tell us/have researched to inform us about reception analysis how individuals in an audience might really use and interact with media texts In this section we will discuss how to help students understand 'primary, secondary and tertiary media', 'hypodermic needle theory', 'uses and gratifications', 'moral panic', 'situated culture'.

3. Technology and the new audience how new technology has had an impact on how products/servicesltexts are delivered to audiences by institutions how new technology has created the audience as producer and implications of this for traditional producers. In this section we will simply discuss the how students are using new technologies - how their portability along with digitalisation of old media forms and disintermediation has changed the way audiences receive and interact with the media with introduction to 'globalisation', 1echnological determinism". Plus a discussion of Media Studies 2.0 and investigating the changing nature of the 'media text and audience..


Why are audiences important??? There are several reasons why audiences are important! Without an audience there wouldn't be any media texts! Measuring 'the audience' (size/reaction) is seen as a way of measuring the success of a media product. This is the same for advertisers who advertise onlbetween media texts - f:ias::th~lh~dv~rt been seen? Audiences are the people who provide income for the media instnutions that produce media texts - we need to understand why audiences buy what they do! Producers appeal to and target their consumers - many people consider it important to look at how audiences are categorised and how they are targeted so we can look at who consumes which media texts. Many people also want to know how we consume the media as it is so central to our lives. Many people want to understand and investigate the increased proliferation of media communications via new technologies in terms of the effects on/for those who consume and interact with them.

Target Audiences: defining an audience Students need to understand from the offset that all media products have a target or intended audience as all audiences are different. This means that every media producer has a profile of the group of people/individuals that they will aim their product/service/text at. Every media te~t that they will interact with, analyse and produce will have an intended audience and students need to be able to give a profile of that audience and in what situations they might receive and interact with a particular text. This intended group can be either defined as a mass audience (a very large group of people) or defined as a niche audience (a more specific and smaller group of people). When this is the case we call this narrowcasting, the opposite of broadcasting. Very often students do not see themselves as part of a large, homogenised audience and it is therefore important early on to identify which types of products they use and why they think they use themlwhy they appeal to them as this helps them understand the concept of targeting. It is easy to look at the initial variables for targeting products to audiences: gender, age, ethnicity, class, occupation, interests.

TASK To do this we can take a look at the media sectors and the products/services out there, initially define the target/intended audience and how they might use the product/service, and tell students to give the reasons why they think this is. By using _ the table, this allows them to use their own knowledge about media industries and gives us an idea about what they already know about products! After the table is complete, pick three and write a justification using media language (visuaVauraVwritten) based on your knowledge of the example.



The concept of audience??? 'Audience' is a key concept in Media Studies and this discussion is tailored towards helping you to help students fully grasp the fundamentals so that it can be easily linked to other key concepts and regularly applied to specific case studies. To do this we are going to investigate the following three areas: 1. Media Products and their target consumers - what a target audience is - what products are consumed and in what type of situations are they received - how producers profile their target audience how producers of media texts research and measure audiences audience 'needs'

In this section we will talk about how to help students understand 'the target/intended' audience through a text's 'mode of address. We will also look at how audiences care classified!categorised by the producers of texts by market research profiling and 'qualitative and quantitative methods' of research.

2. Theories on audiences what the theorists have told us about the effects of media texts on audiences and uses of media texts by audiences what the theorists tell us/have researched to inform us about reception analysis how individuals in an audience might really use and interact with media texts In this section we will discuss how to help students understand 'primary, secondary and tertiary media', 'hypodermic needle theory', 'uses and gratifications', 'moral panic', 'situated culture'. 3. Technology and the new audience how new technology has had an impact on how productslservicesltexts are delivered to audiences by institutions how new technology has created the audience as producer and implications of this for traditional producers. In this section we will simply discuss the how students are using new technologies - how their portability along with digitalisation of old media forms and disintermediation has changed the way audiences receive and interact with the media with introduction to 'globalisation', 'technological determinism". Plus a discussion of Media Studies 2.0 and investigating the changing nature of the 'media text and audience..


Media Sector

Broadcasting (TV) Film

Radio Internet (www)




Books Newspapers Magazines Advertising


Example of text/service

Mass or niche audience

Gender of audience

Age of audience

Interests of audience

How might they use this product? Where might they receive it?


TASK Then do the same for yourself. Pick a text/service you interact with and break down why you think it appeals to you, what features about it you identify with and then who you think the producer's actual target audience is. The students who do this are surprised they have been pigeon-holed so rigidly - many of them have never thought about why they like a product, or that they have been specifically hailed by a narrator's use of '/' or broadcaster's 'you'. Are the audience given 'privileged' information? (interpellation - A/thusser) or represented by a media producer. Text

Why does it appeal to me?

What do I use it for?

Target audience?

How is the Justification? audience represented?

This type of early task on audience links with other key concepts of Media Language and Representation and it becomes easier for them to start to analyse specific texts in relation to their target audience.

TASK The next simple step would be to give a task of textual analysis using semiotic readings of mise en scene in relation to how they feel it targets and is 'hailing' its audience to introduce the term mode of address. We can look at MORE - but any teen magazine is a good place to start and links to AS Foundation Production.

Who is the target audience of MORE magazine and what is the mode of address? By images?

Colour? Use of Text and Language? Position of images and text?










Audience Research: market research classifications Audiences in many cases are essentially products for the producers given the fact that bring audiences to advertisers (Jean-Luc Godard - 'television doesn't make programmes, it creates audiences). It is key for students to understand that all audiences are categorised by producers to provide advertisers with a profile about spending habits, cultural background, beliefs etc in a number of ways: 1. Audience demographics based on the National Readership Survey's socio-economic grades One of the most common/traditional methods, this divides the adult population of Britain into 6 grades and identifies types of occupation and the percentage of the population that fit into that grade. A Higher managerial, administrative or professional- MDs, doctors, solicitors B Intermediate managerial, administrative or professional- bank managers, teachers C1 Supervisory or clerical, junior managerial, administrative or professional- 'white collar' office and bank staff C2 Skilled manual workers - plumbers, builders D Semi-skilled and unskilled manual workers E Casual labourers, unemployed, on state benefits Age is also categorised into the following by the National Readership Survey: <15 15-24 24-35 35-55 55> However there are a few problems with this - doesn't really inform on how much money people make or how much people spend! Skilled labourers (C2) most certainly eam more than many teachers (B) these days. There is also the issue that it's only relevant to the main eamer in the household. Think about our MORE magazine example, B-C2 16-19 year olds doesn't make sense! 2. Psychographies Students needs to understand how producers of some texts profile their target audience based on their behaviour and personality traits. Psychographies therefore label a particular type of person and make an assessment about their viewing /listening / reading / spending habits. Advertising agency Young and Rubicam www.4cs.vr.cominvented one of the best known psychographic profiles - their 4C's Marketing Model (see handout), standing for:

Young & Rubican's 4Cs Marketing Model Succeeder seeks CONTROL Strong goals, confidence, work ethic, and organisation. Supports status quo, stability.


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Brand choice based on self-reward, prestige < ~;<t:~ ,i\,~~>; ', :'; (the 'best') but attracted to 'caring' products. ",jL~;~:'J;~',h"': Typically higher managerial I professional

Enquiring: supports growth of new categories; selects products for intrinsic quality.




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Typically a product of Higher Education

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Explorer seeks DISCOVERY Energy, individualism and experience. Values difference and adventure

Domestic, conformist, conventional, sentimental Favours big and well-known 'family' brands (good 'value for money'). Average demographics (age, income etc.) Almost always the largest 'mass' group.

Rigid and authoritarian values. Oriented to the past and tradition.

Freedom from restrictions and personal growth. Social awareness and independent judgement. ,:1,';;:, Anti-materialistic but aware of 'good taste'. '~'I<''g~;:",~


Mainstream seeks SECURITY

Resigned seeks SURVIVAL

Reformer seeks ENLIGHTENfv1ENT

Brand choice highlights indulgence and instant effect. The first to try new brands. ~ Typically younger demographic - student

Aspirer seeks STATUS Materialistic, acquisitive, oriented to image, appearance, persona and fashion. Attractive pack more important than contents. Typically younger; clerical/sales type occupation

Struggler seeks ESCAPE Typically older demographic


Alienated and disorganised. Few resources beyond physical skills. Brand choice involves impact and sensation; alcohol, junk food, lottery tickets. Typically DIE demographic




Cross Cultural Consumer Characterisation • Mainstreamers • Aspirers • Succeeders • Resigned · Explorers • Strugglers · Reformers TASK - To help students understand how producers categorise the audiences of their products in this way it is good to offer tasks such as: MedialProduct iPod

Psychographic Profile


Bliss Magazine The Daily Mail

Again very often students haven't thought about themselves as being categorised by producers so it is a good way to introduce them to the concept! It is also extremely useful for them to think about when they are attempting to define and research the target audience of their own pieces ofproduction work. Young and Rubicam's approach is similar to the way that market research audience profiles have been constructed based on Values, Attitudes and Lifestyles. Fulfilleds Actualisers Experiencers' Achievers Strivers Believers

3. Hierarchy of Needs These profiles are essentially all based on US psychologist Abraham Maslow and the his hierarchy of needs - we all have different layers of needs and that we needs to achieve one before we move onto the next. The social and esteem levels in particular are to do with gaining the respect of others - this ca be linked to the idea that products and goods fulfil selfesteem.

SocialN. .cts Sen.. or belonging Low

S"ety Needs security


Physiological Needs Hunger Thirst


A good task to give the students is to give them the pyramid and get them to write down the goods/services that would be necessary at each level and then which media texts/where these might be advertised - try and get them to name specific texts.

Media products are therefore hail their target audience through a particular mode of address, this is in line with the profile that has been constructed about this audience. The profile will be pitched to advertisers who will then advertise their goods in/on/between the media product to meet their perceived needs. Students who understand this will succeed in profiling and reading target audiences and how

a media text has tried to meet the needs through their mode of address. They will also, of course, succeed in creating exceptional products during production through their understanding of target audiences. .

Audience Research: Research methods Students will require skills of audience research and research methods in general throughout their Media course, and using audience to define terminology is a good way in. The research falls into two categories primary and secondary. Primary research involves a direct investigation of the topic and the text. It will involves first hand interviews with producers, textual (content) analysis of the magazine, film, or tv programme and of, course, interviews with or data collection about the audiences of a particular media. ~uch

audience research can be quantitative or qualitative.

Quantitative research is primarily concerned with data and involves the collecting figures to ascertain how many people consume a particular text, for how long and what share of total market this is. Television companies use BARB (Broadcaster's Audience Research Board) (see viewing figures) and radio stations used RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research). Qualitative research is primarily concemed with investigating the reasons why audiences consume certain media and can be used to ascertain what they gain from the text. Qualitative research also investigates through discussion, interviews, focus groups or questionnaires the preferences of a producer's intended audience. The aim of this can be to measure the success of a product in terms of audience opinion. Secondary research involves an investigation and analysis of research already undertaken hence the phrase second hand. Studies can be found in academic books, journals and internet and allows for a wide range of viewpoints to be considered about a particular topic of study. Many 'audience effects' and 'audience uses' studies have been undertaken and a wide range of sources needs to be consulted if critical analysis is to be achieved. TASK Students find it difficult to think about audience research in terms of data analysis and the assumptions that can be made from this about their engagement and use of texts. Use the BBC 1, BBC 3, lTV and ITV2 viewing figures for 22/10/06 and answer the following questions: • Which of the two main UK broadcasters had the largest share of the market at 7 0 clock prime time? • What does this suggest about the type of programmes audiences want to watch? • What type of audience are these broadcasters trying to target? • What was the top programme on BBC3 and ITV2? • What does this say about how audiences are using digital television?


Individuals 4+ (Including Timeshift) - w/e 22/10/2006 Millions



Individuals 4+ (Including Timeshift) - w/e 22/10/2006



8.47 8.21 8.05 7.93 7.83

Individuals 4+ Viewing (Including Timeshift) - w/e 22/10/2006


Situated Culture The term situated culture simply refers to the way in which our daily routines, interactions, relationships, our situation, can affect the ways in which we engage and read the various media texts that we come into contact with. Jeremy Tunstall (1983) said the way audiences can consume media texts can be on three levels: Primary: where we pay close attention to a media text Secondary: where we are aware of media in the background but are not particularly concentrating on it - music on radio, flicking through a magazine. Tertiary: when media is there but we are not aware of it - billboards that are passed and we don't take notice of them. TASK To help students understand this concept ask them what media they think they might consume on a day to day basis and get them to categorise it into the 3 levels: Primary



It is good to do this with students as it allows them to think how they interact with all the media that is around them and therefore provides a good introduction to a discussion of audience theories.

Influences on audiences There has been long debate about the effects that media texts have on their audiences, - in the context of research there has been a shift from the view that audiences are passive masses (inactive and accept and believe all messages in media texts) to one that sees the audience as active individuals (interacts with the communication process and use media texts for own purposes). 1. Effects Models Early C20th concems that mass media aimed at a mass audience would be'influenced by the same 'mass' message. This idea suggests that mass media has power as seemed ' apparent in Nazi Germany who used media - films such as Triumph of the WiII- as


propaganda tools to 'inject' ideas making them dominant amongst the German public. In 1957 Vance Packard proposed that advertisers manipulated audience in such a way. This type of effects theory is known as the Hypodermic model- media 'inject' ideas into a passive audience. Suggests that there is a single meaning in a text and audience accept messages. Although audiences are seen as less passive readers than during the 1950's, the hypodermic theory is still used by those in authority to generate moral panics - including effects of the content of teen magazines on teenage girls, violent video gameslfilms and their contribution to violent behaviour etc where the media is 'blamed' for wrongs in society. Cultivation theory is a more refined version of this - where repeated exposure of the same messages/ideologies will eventually have an effect on the audience's attitudes / values. This type of effect is cited when critics say that the audience has become desensitised, making the audience less sensitive to, for example, violent crimes in filmslTV. Two Step flow theory is another model- although a more active audience is assumed, meanings are derived from discussions with other audience members (family, friends). Very often if a text if discussed with what members may see as an opinion leader (celebrity endorsement, filmlTV critic, sports pundits) then they may be passive enough to believe such interpretations of the text.


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To help students understand effects theories in a more simple way (a to make a change from violence) we can ask them to take a look at the way in which lifestyle magazines may have had an affect on the way they think about gender roles and how particular products and lifestyles have become 'gendered' through magazines, particularly those within the last two decades. There have been a host of theorists which have discussed the effects that magazines have on women and girls and their representations (Frieden, McRobbie, Greer) (and also, of course, those that discuss the uses and choices magazines give women (Winship, Hermes)), and more recently those that also discuss masculinity (Gauntlett). TASK Firstly, get students to write down what they consider to be typically feminine and masculine roles. Women's Roles/Products/Interests

Masculine Roles/Products/Interests

Secondly, before showing any magazines, get them to list some women's magazines and men's magazine. Thirdly, ask students to work in groups and undertake a discussion about Glamour Magazine and GQ Magazine and answer the following questions.


What is the main textual meaning about the products women and women buy and their interests? Do the text reinforce aspirational and consumerist lifestyles? Is the magazine using celebrities to endorse these products as opinion leaders? Do you think this might influence the audience in any why? Does the magazine promote social networking and suggest a sense of common community amongst the target audience? Why? Do the magazines empower women or men? Why do you think this is? Over a period of two years does it look like these magazines have changed the 'lifestyles' of women and men? Does this suggest that we are being conditioned over a period of time?

Such introductory tasks will introduce students to audience effects theories. Work can be built upon for specific units throughout AS and A2 syllabuses.







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It would be then useful if students were given information on the 'moral panic' that has arisen on the content of teen magazines and discuss whether such concerns are justified. A discussion of the ideology of the media institution would then be appropriate.

Daily Mail 12/04/07 Vital advice for girls


or simply smut?

Last updated at 08:36am on 12th April 2007 Explicit teen magazines have been praised by school inspectors for offering 'very positive' advice on sex. Ofsted regards them as valuable reading material, despite their often lurid and sometimes sexist content. In a report published yesterday, inspectors also blamed parents for children's increasing reliance on such magazines for the facts oflife. The report on the teaching of Personal, Social and Health Education, did not name any specific magazines. More....

• • •

Parents protest over pre-teens shOl-v that brings controversial Bratz dolls to life More schools offer morning-after pill Magazines. not parents. teach facts oOife

But it clearly related to girls' titles such as More, Cosmogirl! and Sugar, which have . been criticisedfor publishingfeatures such as 'position ofthe fortnight'. Ofsted said that even though teen publications have become increasingly explicit, their problem pages 'remain a very positive source ofadvice and reassurance for many young people'. We examine five ofthe big sellers. Five ofthe best? We put teen magazines under the spotlight SUGAR Boasting it is the 'biggest and best' of the teenage magazines, this is filled with topless pictures of male popstars. It even offers a website link to let readers watch one strip off. With articles such as 'The single girl's guide to partying'. it is hardly intellectual stuff. It tends to focus more on grown-up sexual issues than its rivals, which may be disheartening news to parents. TARGET AGE: 13-19



An anonymous girl tells of an horrific experience at 16, when she slept with a boy she had met online. One evening, the boy turned up with a friend and drove them all out into the woods. Not wanting to seem 'uncooI', the girl let both boys kiss her. They all ended up having sex. A few days later she received an email with a video of their sordid encounter. It had been posted on the Internet. TYPICAL COVER LINE: 'Get Kissing Confident - What every girl needs to know about snogging' TYPICAL PROBLEM PAGE LETTER:

'I slept with a boy because he said he loved me, but the next day he didn't want anything to do with me.' BLISS

Bliss covers issues such as friendship, fashion, true life and sex. Though it's full of brash images of celebrities out 'boozing', it claims it gives girls 'safe' lifestyle advice, such as keeping fit without starving themselves. TARGET AGE: 14-18 CIRCULATION: 151,729 MOST DUBIOUS CONTENT: 1) On a 'true life' confession page, a 15-year-old girl tells ofa one-night stand with a young man in a bathroom at a house party. She had lots of alcohol to 'boost my confidence' and had very brief, unprotected sex. A few weeks later she discovered she had caught a sexually transmitted infection. 2) A picture of girlband star Sarah Harding drinking whisky straight from the bottle and Madonna feeding Penelope Cruz a cocktail, accompanied by a jokey caption: 'So this is how blondes have more fun - by chucking drinks down their mates' necks! We reckon Madge and Sarah are very bad influences. Hie!' TYPICAL COVER LINE: '129 Hot Body Secrets' TYPICAL PROBLEM PAGE LETTER: 'My boyfriend of the past year has asked me if I'm up for threesome sex with him and his mate. I'm not sure I want to, but I love him and don't want to get dumped. Should I do it to please him?' COSMOgirl!

This magazine claims to target intelligent young girls who are keen to succeed at school and in their relationships with friends, family and boys.


Shame about the superficial articles such as 'Cosmo's 101 most wanted men' - which spans three pages of pictures - as well as endless pages of fashion. TARGET AGE: 12-17 CIRCULATION: 131,956 MOST DUBIOUS CONTENT: Diagram of how to put on a condom on the 'Sex Sussed' page. TYPICAL COVER LINE: 'Make Him Fancy You', 'How normal are your boobs?' TYPICAL PROBLEM PAGE LETTER: 'Can laxatives and vomiting help me slim?'

TEEN NOW Teen now is a bi-annual publication, an off- shoot of the weekly celebrity magazine Now. It targets younger teenage girls concerned with fashion, celebrity and boys. More light-hearted than its rivals, it is peppered with 路young television stars and focuses on celebrity interviews as well as real-life teenage problems. TARGET AGE: 13-17 MOST DUBIOUS CONTENT:

1) Pop group the Sugababes are asked in an interview to say when they have been drunk. They explain they got 'completely smashed' at an awards ceremony and how one of them fell over, knocked herself out and vomited over herself. 2) Kara Tointon, EastEnders actress talking about how she likes to wear G-strings because they're skimpy and sexy. TYPICAL COVER LINE: 'Total Boy-Fest', 'Sacked for being too fit' TYPICAL PROBLEM PAGE LETTER: 'I really fancy my sister's new boyfriend. They've been going out for three months and I've liked him since the moment she first introduced me to him. Should I make a move on him?'

MORE More magazine is an unashamedly sexual read. Almost every story has a sexual angle. Often the real-life accounts focus on fetishes or sexual boundaries being broken.

An uncomfortably explicit publication, its pages are littered with diagramsand raunchy photographs to explain numerous sexual positions and techniques. The current issue features a report on a girl who lost six stone (and then her virginity) and another who loves having sex with her 7ft tall boyfriend. TARGET AGE: 21 however, it used to be a teen title and is still thought to be widely read by teenage girls. CIRCULATION: 271,629 MOST DUBIOUS CONTENT: A sexual diagram entitled' Position of the fortnight', in which readers are given step by step instructions to a sexual position. TYPICAL COVER LINE: '100 Greatest Sex Tricks', 'I have sex with a giant' TYPICAL PROBLEM PAGE LETTER: 'I'm straight but turned on by girlon-girl porn. Is this normal? I'm really happy with my man but I'm worried it means I'm bisexual.'



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2. Uses and Gratifications Theory From the 1960's onwards, research was undertaken that suggested audiences used the media for reinforcement. This led to the idea that the audience was active and rather than being one mass group, audiences were a complex mixture of group open to messages in media texts that they selected to best suit their needs- again this has roots in Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory. This type of active selection of messages by audiences is known as the Uses and Gratifications model - suggesting that media audiences make active use of the media which will meet their individual needs. It is in direct opposition to effects theories. Blumler and Katz (1975) identified four main uses: surveillance or 'need' for information about world events (news, drama). personal relationships or 'need' for social interaction (characters in sitcom, soaps) personal identity or 'need' to define sense of self and inform own behaviours (celebrities) diversion or 'need' for escape and entertainment (game shows)

Criticisms of this is that we don't have control over what media is shown, so we can only select from what is delivered to us by producers. We may not want to be exposed to a sexist or patriarchal advert but we cannot control what adverts are shown in betwe~n programmes, the best we can do is channel hop and hope to find something that better suits our needs but what is on offer may not actually achieve this.

'Real people' are now the focus of many modem television programmes - Changing Rooms, Cash in the Attic, Airport, Make me a Model, X Factor, The Apprentice, Big Brother. Going back just a decade (apart from You've Been Framed and quiz shows such as Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and Blind Date) the public very rarely appeared on screen, with shows using experts and presenters to communicate to the audience. Now 'ordinary people' are becoming the 'stars of the show' and 'stars' after the show - which is now the motivation behind participation in many such programmes. Although the rise of fake-celebrity culture is fascinating perhaps more so is the way that the use of real people help audiences identify with texts and therefore further their engagement with them. To help students understand the uses and gratifications theories we can take a look at how Big Brother (now in it's 8th series and still extremely popular) might fulfil the needs of its target audience through its fly on the wall 24 invasion on real life subjects. Channel 4 relies on Big Brother for 25% of its annual advertising and much of this advertising is targeted towards afemale audience (city cars, wine, make up and other beauty products). Although, using our knowledge about audience demographics from earlier, we might think that the target audience for such a reality TV show would be from a C2, Dl Edemographic and male (given the number of scantily clad girls on every year) the truth is very different. The main audience watching Big Brother at present is ABC1 females aged 16-34 and this year's launch show received over 8 million viewers. So what is the appeal, how does it fulfil the needs of it's target audience and how have the advertisers used this to their advantage?

TASK Watch an 8 minute clip from Big Brother and the advertisements and then fill in the table below based on Blumler and Katz reasons for consumption. Surveillance

Personal Relationships

Personal Identity


3. Reception Analysis Uses and gratifications theory is sometimes criticised for being too simplistic in terms of describing the wayan individual audience member interacts with a media text. Reception analysis is concerned with an investigation of how audiences might receive texts taking in to account situated culture - how an audience's social and daily routines can influence readings and engagement with different media texts. Many studies have been completed to investigate the audience's interaction with a specific media text - most famous David Morley and Charlotte Brunsdon (1980) investigated the BBC's Nationwide audience and the factors that variables such as gender and ethnicity had on their reading and understanding of it. Dorothy Hobson (1982) investigated the audience old C4 soap 'Crossroads', Janice Radway (1984) investigate women's use of romance novels etc.

Audience Readings There are four ways in which theorists have suggested a media text might be 'read' by the audience: Preferred/Dominant Reading - where the target audience receives the text they understand and accept and share the messages/dominant values that were encoded by its producer (hegemonic reading). Negotiated Reading - where audience members receive the text and understands the messages/dominant values of the producers but will modify meaning / argue against certain messages (such as representations of groups etc) to suit their own values and position. Oppositional Reading - where audience members not part of the target audience reject the preferred reading/dominant values of the producers and receive/construct an alternative meaning (counter hegemonic). Aberrant Reading - where audience members read the text in an entirely different way to the producers intended. It could be the case when social values/cultural background are very different to that of the producer. An example would be if David Brent's actions from The Office were admired by some members of the audience instead of being seen as embarrassing.



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Although this is a simplistic task it is one that students find easy to begin with to investigate Morley's audience readings above. It also links to foundation production on the OCR syllabus. Over recent years the children's charity Bamardo's has produced shock advertising campaigns Stolen Childhood (2002), Silver Spoon (2003) and New Life (2005). Using material from the Bamardo's website, the charity recognises 'that advertising that isn't noticed does not work' and has therefore made their recent campaigns extremely visual in order to get the attention of the reader. Bamardo's advertise by predominately print media channels as opposed to other children's charities such as the NSPCC who have also had successful television advertising to support print over a range of campaigns. Bamardo's target audience is of ABC1 demographic, aged 30-55 male and female and very probably parents. They are opinion formers, 'movers and shakers' of society. As this is an educated audience the print campaigns are 'communicated through professional, political and social channels'. This would suggest that advertising is in ABC1 blue tops such as The Guardian, The Independent and The Times. Although this may have been easier with the Silver Spoon campaign, lets try it with the New Life to get students to think about mode of address along with audience reading. In the table below detail how you think the audience might understand the adverts if they adopted a preferred, negotiated, oppositional or aberrant reading. Try to comment make a comment on the mode of address - personal pronouns? Expert voice? Semiotics? Preferred Reading?

Negotiated Reading?

Oppositional Reading?

An Aberrant Reading?

Mode of Address




.'.. -. .~


New Technologies Audience interaction with texts has changed dramatically over the past 15 years owing to advancements in new media technologies - convergence - digital television, computers, mobile phones, PDAs, are multimedia and interactive with internet access. All media is accessed by a single device and owing to the portability of such devices it makes them even more attractive to audiences. This means that the students of Media Studies are engaging and interacting with more texts than ever before. They are also producing more media content then ever before.

It is therefore important that students understand the impact of the technologies they use everyday and how the media landscape is changing with reference to reach, ownership and production as a result. TASK 1. To introduce this concept, ask students to think about the new technology they use and quickly to write down what they use it for.

New Technology

What you use it for

2.Ask the students to pick a media text they access online by a computer, tv, phone (music, film, tv programme, magazine). Discuss with them why they access it online with these questions: - why do you access the text online? - what does the internet allow to 'to do' with the text? - do you think it allows you to engage with the text more than old media forms? - can you think of any disadvantages of this type of access?

Impact on old media? Delivery of information is now very different - the idea that we can now access information any time, anywhere means that we do not have to go visit traditional providers to satisfy needs. There is the idea that because we can access so much information online we no longer have to buy a newspaper to find out the day's news. This is called disintermediation and basically means that the middle man is cut out of the equation (also think about the idea of booking holidays, banking, even shopping!) If media institutions did not have the ability to become cross-media providers and find creative ways of ensuring its mode of address captures its target audience it could lead to a loss of audience.




Publications like The Sun appear to have survived this -look at their website - full articles are not available and there are bold statements to its target audience (to see the whole of today's pg 3 buy The Sun) to secure readership of the traditional media form.

TASK Ask students all the ways that they get their information from - do they feel that they do not visit old media forms/providers because of the internet?

The 1990 /1996 Broadcasting Acts detailed that audiences should have more choice and access to content via new media technologies - which further saw the deregulation of the broadcasting sector. BBC formed BBC Worldwide in 1994 - commercial arm that enabled to practice media synergy (primarily distribution and merchandising) to secure its future in the UK and beyond. Since its re-Iaunch in 200, Dr Who has become one of the BBC's flagship, prime time programmes viewers topping 10 million. Spin off Torchwood was extremely successful in Oct 2006 capturing the largest digital audience for a non-sports programme with nearly 3 million viewers. Much of it's success is owed to new technology. As a cross-media company the BBC have secured their diversification by expansion into new media technologies. By using their basis as a good quality content provider to lure key partnerships in Flextech, Crowncastle, IBM, Siemens, Google, Discovery etc. Key ones being: FREEVIEW (2002) joint venture with Crowncastle UK Ltd and BSkyB in which BBC have controlling interest - gave audience access to channels BBC3, BBC4, BBC News 24, Cbeebies, CBBC etc


To help students understand the concept of globalisation and cultural imperialism without simply referring to McDonald's we need to look at case studies of the main service providers that also produce much Westem, mainstream material. News Corporation are a vertically integrated cross media conglomerate - Rupert Murdoch still has controlling share of the institution. They produce, market and broadcast their own material through their range of film, television, newspaper, new media insitutions that they own (inc. C20th Fox, Sky, Star, Foxtel, The Sun, MySpace).They have expanded into all areas of new media including digital satellite and cable distribution, intemet distribution, intemet social networking - most recently they have entered into ajoint venture with Universal to form as as yet unnamed film and tv distribution collection of websites in an attempt to rival YouTube. News Corp is in the top 5 largest global broadcast conglomerates and therefore produces and distributes much of the media content that is seen on a global scale. As a service provider it owns many of the distribution systems that we (and the rest of the world) receive our television from. In particular News Corporation owns, BSkyB, Sky Europe, FoxTel, DirecTV, Star TV. Using the listings below detail whether you feel News Corporation have changed their output across the globe to take into consideration of the audience's cultural.background.

Does this suggest that News Corporation has utilised new technologies for purely financial gain? Might this have an impact on the social values and beliefs of the audiences in the countries that News Corporation now reach? . MySpace - now has 100 million hits per month - why do you think News Corp took over MySpace in 2006.


























































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'. Audience as Producers As MySpace proves, audiences are interacting with new media technologies to the extent that it becomes part of how they conduct their social interactions has begun a new wave of theoretical perspectives on how audiences use/engage with media texts. David Gauntlett (2007) in particular champions the validity of Media Studies 2.0 which sees a recognition of students' knowledge of media texts via their distribution by new media technologies - MySpace, YouTube, Flickr, Blogger. .. Although all reception theories have been discussed and all are still valid with reference to how / why audiences use and receive media texts, recent research (Buckingham, Livingstone, Gauntlett) suggest that the media landscape is changing and it is now important to tutor students, as part of audience studies, about the new type of interaction audiences have with texts - we need to make sure students understand the concept of reception alongside an understanding of new distribution and production of media texts by younger audiences where media literacy is part of the curriculum from an early age. TASK Using earlier work, ask students what new Web 2.0 technologies they utilise and what they use them for. Web 2.0


• Do they see themselves as media producers? • Do they try and replicate styles? • Why do they place their own work I comments on blog I forum sites? Why is it important to display work on these site? Look at the comments from the BBC Sports Blog. • Do they feel it changed the way they interact with traditional media like sport, music do they feel more involved now they can comment back? - Do they feel their comments are as valid as those from media professionals? • Has their view changed about the media and the 'elitism' that once existed?



. BBC Sports Blog/Forum Wilhelmsson Tottenham Hotspur

by pigeonspurs 16 June 2007 (COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE)

what are your thoughts about us signing this guy. he is a class player but he is right footed and playes right wing NOT left wing. do we need him. comment on this article I alert a moderator I t:lsend to a friend Latest 10 comments view all 61 comments Read members' comments or add your own comment by 87!,"ascot . posted 15 Hours Ago 'If he can trap and hold the ball and track back then he could do some good. It beggars belief Spurs will try 442 with a dreadful goal keeper, Dawson, 2 poor wide players like Lennon (like Defoe a natural sub) and Malbranque. You need to be a lot better than them to justify a 442 with 2 central midfielders to cover for such players. You need better ftlll backs and keeper also....'

Robinson has his moments but you have to be a bit of a muppet to call him dodgy. You worry about your team and hopefully see you down the sloany pony next season.

posted 14 Hours Ago this discussion is realy borin

posted 13 Hours Ago i agree this discusion is really boring. ja~dd~~~o~m~m~.e~nitI complain about this comment ~




posted 12 Hours Ago lennon is the most inconsistent player in the prem did have a bad season this year . . .


."4 ,


posted 12 Hours Ago

spurs dont need to sign players who are good on the ball, they have a full team of players like that. they need players who know WHAT TO DO WHEN THEY HAVE NOT GOT THE BALL. the number of times they have given away leads and conceded the amount of goals they have, its obvious they need a good physically strong pair of centre midfielders cos they wont win anything with jenas and zokora together in the centre of the park, thats y they lose alot away from home, and lose at home to man u 4路0 and give away leads against chelsea reserves after being 3-1 up. n end up drawing 3-3. they need players who can control the game that like doing the ugly things like ESSIEN. add comment I complain about this comment comment by dan90m posted 12 Hours Ago

kingofdalane we got wayne routledge aswell we dont need anymore backup? add comment I complain about thlS comment


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