In the past, audiences of various media forms were very one-dimensional. People would sit in their living rooms, to watch one program on the small television. Now, audiences have multiple screens to watch a multitude of programs on offer. Family viewing has changed a lot for example from sitting in the living room together to people having different devices in different rooms whilst doing other activities. It’s very distracted viewing rather than passive. Definitions are also different. The first definition in the Cambridge dictionary explains an audience as part of a group together in one place to watch to a play, film or someone speaking. The second speaks generally of the number of people watching or listening to the same form of media or presentation, which I think relates a lot to life nowadays. Watching a show on your phone to a television program you are still part of that ‘audience’. It’s updated for the technically advanced forms of media and that people don’t necessarily always have to be physically together.
How do we get to know these audiences?
There is a lot of quantitative data out there. OzTam is an example, it’s an Australian research firm that measures and collects television ratings data. The information is useful as a lot of advertisers use it for their selling time, which also gives resources to programs to keep them running in one large trading circle. This method is good for the ‘currency’ of television and business but a drawback is it doesn’t really give us quality details on HOW people are watching and what they are thinking about and engaging with. Research methods such as observations and interviews can get some information. A show like gogglebox kind of captures this, even though the people may act a little different since cameras are on them, it gives the audience of the audience (HA) and idea.
There are also opinions on how media effects audiences. Can people learn to behave a certain way by watching other people behave on television? There are utopian views where the focus is on knowledge gain but there are also dystopian views that say it is bad and there is so much sitting around. I guess I would say that no particular media form is bad or good, it’s how you use it. There are theories that media can influence behaviour but blaming the media needs to be rethought. There are no distinct studies or research that finds behaviour to be directly affected by the media. Media does make a difference in our lives but it is how we use it and also other factors in life that influence us.
(this meme is just to show theories on how the media actually does influence and affect us and what it looks like in this perspective.)