Uses and gratifications/ reception of my tv show

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.).

 

Reception Theory

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.  

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TV Studio Audience Research (And a little Market research too)

To give myself a clear target market to aim my show at, I have done both primary and secondary research. It is critical to generate an idea in your head of your audience, as at the end of the day you need to decide things based on what they will appreciate. Doing this will ensure both that they enjoy the show and also that they come back to watch it again in the future. My resources were fairly limited, compared to say that of a production or broadcasting company. The invest huge amounts of money and resources into audience research. In this day and age though it has never been as easy to do on mass. My idea is a sports-spoof show, so I needed to know about attitudes to comedy and sport shows and how many people watch them. 

 

For my primary research I created a survey on ‘surveymonkey.com’. I had ten questions, and ten responses, giving me a hundred questions answered in total. This should give me a neat little insight into some consumer attitudes and trends. Out of the ten people, only one did not fit into either the 0-17 or 18-24 age group. This was useful as my show will primarily be targeting young adult audiences. None of them selected that they don’t watch TV shows, with the majority putting that they watch shows daily. This was interesting to see, as it suggests that younger people do tend to watch a lot of Television. It is therefore fortunate I am aiming my show at them.

In response to me asking what their favourite genres were, the majority said comedy. As my show is a spoof it will be a type of comedy, and there will be a real focus on the comedic elements. I was pleased when I saw this result. I then asked what their hobbies were. I got quite a mixture of responses, and a fair few creative hobbies like photography. I did also notice, that 4 out of the ten of them put either a sport or going to the gym as one of their interests. I would not have expected this to have been so high (perhaps because of the stereotype of the age group in question being lazy). Almost half were into some sort of physical activity. This could be a valuable asset considering my show is sport themed. When combining this info with the fact that the majority of them like comedy television, it is looking like my sports spoof should be rather popular.

Other things I asked them were where they were employed; their gender; their current favourite TV show; how they watch TV shows; whether they ever watched sports shows; and whether or not they would consider watching a sports spoof show. The majority of people said they never watched sports shows. 4 out of ten said they would consider watching a sports spoof show. That isn’t quite half but I was still fairly pleased with that. Sometimes ideas don’t seem hugely appealing but if you catch some of the show they’d see that really it is very funny. Hopefully anyway. I also noticed that three quarters of the people who said they would watch a sports-spoof were male. Now granted it is a fairly small proportion, but this could still suggest that more males may be interested. This would align to the stereotype that males on the whole are more interested in sport (or though I don’t see their being any real backbone to this theory). 

 

For my secondary research I looked at a few different places on the internet for information. I could not find any popular sports-spoof shows, as I don’t think there are many out there. I felt this meant there is a gap in the market for such a show. The is a sports based comedy panel show called ‘A League of Their Own’. I thought this would be a good place to start. On Facebook I found that over 116,000 people had ‘Liked’ it. I saw only 530 people were ‘talking about it’ however. So There wasn’t a particularly big amount of current activity. To get some perspective and a comparison I looked at popular-music themed comedy panel-show ‘Never Mind The Buzzcocks’. This show had over double as many likes, and 12 times as many people were talking about it. I checked ‘Mock the Week’, a politically  themed comedy panel-show. I knew ‘Mock the Week’ was very popular. Over two million people had liked it. So for some reason ALOTO wasn’t as popular as these other shows. Hopefully it won’t be because it is sports themed. My theory is that it is because it is on Sky so only people who pay for the subscription can watch it, limiting it’s market. Learning from this, I would hope to go in with the BBC (or failing that Channel 4) if I was to actually make my show professionally.

I searched YouTube for ALOTO. The most popular result was a ‘best moments’ video. It only had 15,000 views, and didn’t have any comments which was a shame as I wanted to analyse some to see what fans were saying about the show. There was a DVD on Amazon, a ‘best and unseen moments’. It only had nine reviews, all 5 star! When looking at what people had wrote I kept seeing ‘very funny, lot’s of laughs!’ and other similar comments. It seemed a lot of people had bought this DVD for a relative who liked either the show or sport generally. It was all positive things which was good, and they must have been fairly dedicated fans as their was a £20+ price tag on this DVD.  

I then looked on BARB, at the top 30 highest ranking shows on a number of popular channels. As expected, there were no sports-spoof shows. Just to get an idea though I looked at how many sports shows were on there. ‘Rugby Six Nations’ got nearly 6 million views. ‘Final Score’ got 1.6 million. ‘Splash!’ on ITV got 3.5 million, this is a show featuring celebrities trying to master diving, and there are comedy elements too. ‘The Jump’, following winter sports took places 4,5,6, and 7 on Channel 4 (different versions of the show). This surge in popularity is almost certainly because of the winter Olympics just starting. None of Channel 5’s top 30 shows were sports themed.

All in all I think I got a lot of insight both through my primary and secondary research. I have seen there is no one popular sports-spoof show dominating the market, and so there is room for mine. I have seen that a fair few people in the age category I am aiming at say they would be interested in a show like mine. I have also seen that regular sports shows are hugely popular, with multiple ones getting millions of views a week. I can use all of these findings when constructing and developing my idea.          

 

 

 

 

 

Some selected audience research from the Glossary

Qualitative: Qualitative data is data measured by the quality of something, rather than by a number or definitive multiple choice answer. Qualitative data is subjective and opinion based, and is often more detailed. It can be harder to analyse as it is usually impractical or impossible to create graphs to find trends. Questions aimed at retrieving qualitative responses are usually open ended. For example ‘How effective did you find the use of cinematography in the film’? The answers to these questions will usually be written out as a very mini-essay, outlining the respondents views on the matter. You can obtain qualitative audience research through things like focus groups, or by looking at reviews for media products. A specific example could be reviews for a box set on Amazon.  

Quantitative: Quantitative data is measurable or ‘quantifiable’. It either is a number or can be given number value. It is effective to collect quantitative data on mass, and useful for analysation. You can make graphs or charts with quantitative data. The questions you ask to retrieve quantitative data are closed-ended. Often they will be multiple choice, and if not they will require a number or one-worded answer. Sometimes when the range of answers could be very wide, the answers will be put into small groups with spaced boundaries. For example: ‘How much time do you spend on YouTube a week?’ and then the answers will be ‘0-9 mins, 10-24 mins, 25-50 mins, 51-100 mins, 101 mins+’. Companies could use social media websites like Facebook to collect quantitative data. (For example, looking at which films get the most ‘likes’). Surveys are also a cheap and efficient way of collecting quantitative data on mass.   

 

Audience classifications

Socio-economic: Someone socio-economic status means is their current financial situation. They are used to describe, measure and classify people of different ‘social grade’ and income and earnings levels often for market research. Some people argue there are links between a persons socio-economic status and lifestyle/ cultural trend/ attitudes/ behaviour etc, however it can be difficult (and at times, arguably, unjust) to fing concrete links between these things and someone’s financial situation or background. There is a commonly used and known table of classifications, where someone is put into either an A, B, C1, C2, D or E category, going from ‘richest’ to ‘poorest’ in that same order. It was devised by the NRS (national readership survey). It can be important for marketers/ companies/ producers to know an audiences socio-economic status, as those with no spare or dispensable cash aren’t going to be as worth trying to sell to. (There are always uses for each class and ways around a lack of cash but it is still helpful to know what grade of quality and expense you should be selling to who).        

Psychographics: Psychographics relate to the opinions and attitude of people, either towards a given subject or generally. Amidst these are also peoples lifestyles and choices, as well as interests and ideologies. Psychographics are very important in media, the way someone views the world may help form what kind of things they enjoy or want to consume. People may disagree with the message or theme of something based on ethical, moral or political reasons. Pschographics may be more changeable and inconsistent than other categories like demographics. Especially in modern times as people are tending to conform less, be more individual and this transfers into media as people consuming what thy may not be expected to based on their profile etc.     

demographics: Demographics means statistical data relating to a population and/or  specific groups within it. This can involve things like age, gender, sexuality etc. These things are often taken as an average. Demographics will make up part an audience profile.

mainstream: Mainstream means the ideas, attitudes and ideas that are seen as normal (or perhaps conventional). The mainstream of anything is by default the most popular, as that is practically what mainstream is: the majority, the bulk, the mass of minds. To be part of the mainstream will tend to mean you don’t stand out, your opinions are popular. Hollywood loves the mainstream market: it’s where the people are and the people are the money.

 

alternative: alternative contrasts mainstream, it is not the most popular thing. It is in some way ‘different’. Sometimes it isn’t quite as accessible to the majority of people (see radiohead). However alternative doesn’t mean unpopular, by along shot. It should not be confused with ‘indie’ which is usually more unpopular, and often more abstract or ‘out there’ in some way. Alternative is often the second most popular: it isn’t the mainstream big seller, but it quite possibly could be the next biggest thing. It generally entails some ideas or content that isn’t so straightforward or accepted on mass.

niche: Niche, or a ‘niche market’, means a small but clearly defined group of people who have wants (or needs) which others don’t. If a TV series is aimed at a niche market, it will have a small but dedicated fan-base. Not many people will fit into the right ‘category’ to enjoy it, but those who do will usually really appreciate that their small number is being catered for. Niche markets are often what lead to ‘cult followings’. Things made for niche markets often could be ‘indie’ (in the sense of the word that is linked to genre rather than meaning independently made/ owned which strictly speaking is what it actually means). However these niche, indie things often get more popular as the years go by, then arrive at being alternative rather than indie. Then  they got so damn popular they finish as mainstream! Crazy.