Audience theory (2)

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Information about Audience theory (2)

Published on February 14, 2014

Author: mayc1


Effie Price, Ollie Caswell, Catherine May and Kate Hoyle.

With the development and advancement of technology audiences become increasingly involved in different medias such as video and computer games. By enabling players to put themselves in a characters role who is often a dominant male allows them to have control over other various, often female, characters. In having a form of both escapism and power over an entire world that has been created this allows the makers to encode various messages in which the players may take away from the game. It is by this interaction that the information evidences the different ways in which audiences are offered opportunities to use texts and become active is changing how we analyse audience responses.

A different form of media that can be used to analyse audience responses is the internet; this is used slightly differently than to something like video gaming in that the audience can read the text given and chose to ignore the aspects that they doesn’t agree with and take away the message that they do. This is the ‘Pick and Mix’ audience belief tat the flexibility there enables the user of the format to pick and choose what they want, which could potentially be different each time.

This theory uses active rather than passive audiences which emphasises what the audience does with the media given rather than what the media does to the audience. Blumler and Katz disagreed with previous theories that placed the audience as entirely passive who could be influenced by any type of message from a form of media. This theory suggests that individuals and social groups use texts in a variety of ways rather than simply passively.

 1. 2. 3. 4. In 1987 Dennis McQuail refined the four main needs of an audience. Entertainment and diversion – people needs a way in which to escape from the pressures of everyday life and get away from the worries they have. Personal Relationships – people want to identify themselves within a character and be able to discuss with others. Personal Identity – The ability to compare and contrast your life with the characters and story lines which run throughout a film/text. Information/Education - To discover and learn about going on in the world.

 Now we must consider the theory, created by Dennis McQuail, can now be viewed as a simplistic way of looking at the audiences that have become more complex and diverse as media itself has become more fluid and changing. The theory, created in 1987, assumes that media has identified and catered for the needs of the audience, when in fact it may well just be the audiences acting in a specific way as there is no other alternative.

 Audience Fragmentation is the phrase used to describe the ways in which people interact and engage with media. It shows that the idea of audience is in the digital era is changing. Audience fragmentation is thoughts behind how convergence, user-created content and social networking has transformed. This means the internet (rolling entertainment news and internet gossip sites, film downloads) in various ways ‘breaks up’ the potential audience group for any particular film.

 However in 2007, the film Csigo saw this trend as a ‘duality’ working in two ways. Convergence leads to the traditional mass audience fragmenting off into smaller ‘niche audiences’ but also ‘falling together’ in various different ways. This was by becoming more intimate members of a smaller group. In other words there are less big-budget, blockbusters now, and more films aimed at promoting a ‘cult’ audience.

    In the new climate, the film industry is trying to provide 360 degree branding for their films; to surround audiences with various converged media forms to promote films and their franchises. Csigo suggests that the film industry are no longer interested in keeping the audience together, but in triggering engagement. Converging media can lead to film industries getting bigger ad bigger and control more of the industry. Customers can now however also produce their own films and upload them to YouTube.

  The media world has therefore changed from a value chain in which films are made and distributed to audiences, to a social network. This is a complex system where producers and audiences are mixed up. This is a shift from push media where producers provide us with films and we receive them passively, to pull media where we decide what we wish to do with the media and how we access it to suit us.

  When media institutions such as YouTube and MySpace were purchased by Google and News Corporation, the relaxed approach to copyright ceased and the sites came visibly ‘corporate.’ Illegally posted material has now been removed off YouTube. Myspace is also using Gracenote software to clear copyright at the point of download.

   Internet advertising in the UK generates more than 50% of the money made from TV advertisement. This is because more UK homes are now equipped with broadband resulting in an increase in the time spent online rather than on other media. Google alone gain around 45% of all the revenue form online advertisement in the UK.

 The internet makes sharing easier. The inventor of the internet; Tim Berners-Lee created it with a democratic view in mind. The sharing of material and content is getting closer to achieving this democratic state that BernersLee intended.

 The power of social media and user generated content is growing. A recent trend shows an abandoning of established institutions, and how the power of virtual communities is growing, much like YouTube. However, big institutions have now embraced the ease of which media is distributed to reach new audiences and connect with different people. The Blair Witch Project integrated a very up to date way of filming and spawned a new wave of horror films. Arctic monkeys utilised the website MySpace to infiltrate the music scene and differentiate themselves from other bands, ultimately reaching new audiences and achieving greater success and recognition. Because of this inexpensive method of distribution and creation, more established firms like MTV and News Corp are struggling to keep up. Before MySpace or YouTube, the only way somebody would see your film or hear your song was through either MTV or on the radio. Now other channels of distribution have been created, threatening the existence of the older institutions. MTV now offer a portion of screen time to videos created by user to reach out to audience members familiar with sites like YouTube or Vimeo. Even older media corporations like The Guardian or other newspapers now market blogs where discussion is central. This audience inclusion helps to expand the portion of the market that The Guardian is reaching out to, and maintain the current consumer base they already have.

  All you need now to become famous, or to reach new heights of fame is a broadband connection and a camera phone. This access to film production enables the user to create an overnight sensation. The distribution, the hard part, is left to YouTube, a website on which you post videos and share on other forms of social media; twitter, Facebook, Tumblr or MySpace. Despite this new wave of flourishing media, the older, already established firms that own sites like YouTube are getting even richer. Every time this democratic media makes any amount of money, it will go straight into the parent company’s pocket. Also, statistics may suggest that the sharing of content isn’t as popular as first thought; only 0.16% of YouTube visitors upload videos and only 0.2% of Flickr visitors upload photos. Wikipedia, an internet giant, only has 4.59% of its users editing or expanding its content.

 All of this begs the question; has anything really changed? Production and distribution levels have marginally increased and the figures show that people are using ‘new media’ in the same way ‘old media’ was being used, and that’s to read, play and watch; all of which could’ve been done using MTV, The Guardian and the radio.

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