Uses and Gratifications Theory Applied
When creating a media product it s always essential to think carefully about exactly who you target audience is. Of course ideally people outside of your target audience will also watch the show, but it is good to be aiming it at a certain group. Some products I think are made to try and have as as wide a target audience as possible, but these can end up being weak as everyone enjoys it a bit but nobody enjoys it a lot (in my opinion). A media product should have a firm sense of identity, both in itself and in who it’s made for (again, my thoughts).
When it comes to age I think my idea (a spoof-sports discussion show) will be best suited to 16-26 year olds. I think 16 is old enough to understand the conventions of typical sports shows, and therefore find our ‘spoofing’ funny. I think any younger and the essence of our creation won’t be apparent. I then think the top of the range will be about mid-twenties as afterwards people may start to lose that sense of finding more ‘silly’ or comical things as entertaining. Also a spoof-sports show isn’t particularly enlightening or productive, and between 16-26 people have more free time. They may be bored with all this free time so watch more comedies as a form of escapism. After mid twenties though adults tend to be busier and may not really be in the mood for such light hearted gags and bits.
I don’t think there is particularly any connection between my idea and socio-economic status. In fact I prefer to stay clear of stereotyping different ‘classes’ anyway for ethical reasons. But if I was going to try and find some sort of possible link, I would say perhaps people at the lower end of the spectrum may not enjoy it as much. This is because to be able to laugh at sports show conventions, you need to not be taking them too seriously. And a possible trend is that lower enders may watch more shows (e.g. match of the day) with at times almost religious conviction. Not to say middle or upper class people don’t, but perhaps not as frequently. And because of this these people might not be able to laugh at such things, which is fair enough as to sporting enthusiasts it may not be a laughing matter. But as I said, there is no need in my mind as to draw socio-economic conclusions at all.
If we accepted the stereotype that males like sport more, then I would say my show would be aimed more at males. However I do not. Then again, in my survey most of the people who said they would consider watching a sports-spoof were male. So based on this and not the stereotype, my show may be more suited to guys.
Another thing I noticed on my survey was when asked would you consider watching a sports-spoof show somebody replied ‘yeah I would ‘cuz sports sucks!’. This got me thinking, I remember there were a lot of people back in school who didn’t like sort or P.E., either because they were bad at it or it just wasn’t their thing. Sport was seen as a fairly ‘cool’ thing to be into, and maybe even those that weren’t into it were deemed ‘less cool’. This obviously wouldn’t be a pleasant experience. That is when I thought that maybe my show could be a sort of outlet for that built up contempt at sport or sporty people. In a not particularly offensive way, people who didn’t have a good experience with sport at any point in their lives could come together and moc the conventions and expectations we see today. The comedians used on my show would in no way need to know anything particularly about sport, or even like it. So this could create a ‘sense of belonging’ which comes under the Integration and Social Interaction section of the Uses and Gratifications Theory. All these anti-sport people can come together, and feel at home laughing at sport experts or athletes.
Other uses for my show I think will come under entertainment. People will watch it when bored, as I have said which happens a lot to the age I am aiming my show at. (They may also use it to procrastinate when really they should be doing their media work, but hey that’s up to them). They will use it to relax, and as it will be so light hearted and funny, it will be good to relax to. The age group may need to relax as they may be stressed from exams or just generally facing the anxieties of being lost/ in love/ late teen/ early twenties. A confusing and wonderful time for everyone. As well they may get intrinsic cultural enjoyment, as the show will remain up to date and topical. It will sometimes talk about genuine sporting events or players, and make jokes about them. There will be a sense of national piss-taking, (e.g. laughing at how ugly Englands football team is, or about how we always lose at cricket to Australia etc.).
The purpose of my television show is to entertain, and to highlight conventions in sport or sports shows that people tend to just accept without questing or even noticing. But mostly it is just to make people laugh, and give some comedians a chance to come and be funny while on the topic of sport. Comedy can be interpolated into almost anything, and I think it should be. The show is also a chance to generally discuss sport but on less of a serious note than regular sports shows, and in less detail.
I think my show will be interpreted quite quickly by people as the point of the show will be obvious almost as soon as you start to watch it. I think most people will have a preferred reading, as even though it does make fun of the sporting world, it wouldn’t ever be offensive to anyone.
(Unless we get Frankie Boyle on the show.) Despite this, I think some sport enthusiasts and fanatics will not appreciate taking sport anything other than seriously. These people will have an oppositional reading. They may also have a problem with the fact that it won’t be experts but comedians, who may frequently get things wrong about a certain sport or league etc. That will leave a few people who are kind of in between, who perhaps appreciate what we are doing although don’t really agree with it. There may also be people who are fine with the show morally but just don’t find it hugely funny. These will be negotiated readings. When we construct the show we will keep in mind that we want as many peple to have preferred readings as possible.