Over the process of three lessons we worked in groups to gather an audience profile for a certain magazine that we were given. In the first lesson we had to look at our magazine and create a questionnaire based on that magazine, which we later handed out to other people in our class so that they could fill them in. We then gathered all the information and tallied up our results, putting them into bar charts to make them more easier to understand visually. Once we had done all this we created a power-point presentation that explained all our results and the target audience for the particular magazine we were given. We then later presented our power-points to the class in our groups.

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There are different types of audiences. For example:

  • Mass audience

Those who consume mainstream or popular texts such as soaps or sitcoms. Media and communication that targets a very large group of people (women, men, children, adults etc).

  • Niche audience

much smaller but very influential. A niche audience is a small, select group of people with a very unique interest.

Audience profiling.

The purpose of audience profiling is to get to know your audience. It is something all media institutions have to do in order to design something solely based off their target audience. It allows the institution to get to know their audience and what/who they are working with every time they publish something. There are two types of audience profiling; demographic profiling and psychographic profiling.

It is important for producers to do this in order for them to have a clear idea on what their typical reader is interested in and enjoys, this gives them their target audience. It is very important for producers to know their audience and cater for what they want because without an audience there is no profit and no media product.

Demographic profiling. 

This is a description of the target audience. It consists of age, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and geographical location. It is quite stereotypical.

Audiences are put into groups within demographic profiling.

Group A- This is the upper middle class. Such as successful business professionals.

Group B- This in the middle class. They are quite well off, but not at the top of their profession.

Group C1- This is the lower middle class. Also known as ‘white collar’ they are small trades people with administrative, supervisory and clerical jobs.

Group C2- This is the skilled working class. Also known as ‘blue collar’

Group D- These are the semiskilled or unskilled manual workers.

Group E- These are casual workers or people who depend on social security schemes.

advantages of Demographic profiling. 

Disadvantages of Demographic profiling. 

Psychographic profile. 

This is simply a description of the target audiences lifestyle, interests and attitudes. It is often a lot less stereotypical than demographic profiling.

In psychographics people are put into Cross- Cultural Characteristics. This lists people in categories in terms of their personal aspirations.

Mainstreamers- This is the largest group, the people are concerned with stability and security. They mainly buy well recognized brands and consume mainstream texts.

Aspirers- These are people seeking to improve themselves. They tend to identify themselves by high status brand names that they own and consume, absorbing ideologies of the products as their own and believing that their status is established by this conspicuous consumption.

Succeeders- These are people who feel secure and in control. They are generally in position of power, although they may not be. They buy brands, which reinforce their feelings of control and power.

Remformers- These people are idealists who actively consume eco-friendly products and buy brands, which are environmentally supportive and healthy. They buy products, which establish this ‘caring and responsible’ ideology.

The individual- This is an addition to these four groups. The individual is highly media- literate, expects high  production advertising and buys product image, not product, requiring high profile, sophisticated.

Research methods used by media professionals to collect audience data. 

  • Questionnaires
  • Surveys
  • Interviews
  • Focus groups

There are quantitative and qualitative ways of collecting data.

Questionnaires would be an example of quantitative data. This is because questionnaires are a way of collecting data and allowing media professionals to get to know their audience, but only on a very simple level. This is mostly because when answering a questionnaire, the people are restricted within their answers, this giving the media professionals limited information.

Interviews would be an example of qualitative data. This is because the audience are a lot less restricted and can express their thoughts and feelings a lot more.

Advantages/ Disadvantages of Quantitative 

Advantages-

  • It is quick.
  • provides precise data.
  • It is very useful.

Disadvantages

  • The answers may be to general.
  • Doesn’t allow much personal opinions.

Advantages/ Disadvantages of Qualitative 

Advantages-

  • Gives more in depth information/ opinions.
  • It is reliable.

Disadvantages-

  • Opinions may be biased.

Individual research. 

I used quantitative research in my work. To gather information in order to create an audience profile I made a questionnaire. I then gave the questionnaire out to people in our class, so that they could fill them out. The questions were half about the audience themselves. for example; their age, interests, what magazines they read, what free gifts interest them the most etc. The other half of the questions regarded the magazine itself. Things like, their opinion on the amount of adverts used in the magazine, the cover model, what they find more important within a magazine; the cover lines or the person featured and the last question was about the price, if they would pay that more for the magazine that we were given. This was a successful way of gathering information because it allowed me to get to know the audience.

Another example of quantitative research would be, In our groups we looked at facts and figures of the In style magazine on the NRS website. This allowed us to gather more of an idea on what kind of people read the magazine. It made it easier to put people in to groups and analyse why In style had more of a female based audience, who reads the magazine on the website and who reads the print version. This is an example of our textual analysis.

Once we had finished gathering all our research, we were able to analyse the magazine in more depth. We found that the magazine was mostly aimed at women because of the cover lines, they are female fashion orientated. The women featured on the front will also attract a female audience. The overall look of the magazine is very feminine and professional, this is what attracts the audience of mostly women, 35+ years old with a higher income. The price of the magazine reflects this because £4.99 is quite expensive for someone who would buy a magazine normally around £2.00 or less. On a psychographic scale I would expect aspirers to buy this magazine. This is because there are high end brands advertised and ways to ‘improve’ your style etc.

I think my individual research was successful, although it could of been improved. This is because hardly any qualitative research was used. It would of been helpful to have more in depth answers from the audience. The questionnaire allowed us to get to know the audience, but only on a basic level. It would of been good to be able to ask questions that allowed more open answers, allowing the audience to go in to more depth. If i was to do anything different, i would of done primary qualitative research, for example i could of carried out and interview.

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