Relationships between narratives and audiences
Media narratives are more than just products. They are living, breathing things that have been influenced by the world and have audiences engage with them in a range of different ways.
It isn’t enough to think about how the media product was created, it’s also important to consider how different audiences engages with the product in a range of different ways. Through this the media has a relationship with the audience.
The relationship between a media narrative and its audiences is complex and is highly dependant on the audience itself.
A media audience can be a specific person, or a certain group or type of person — but they will all engage with, consume and read the narrative differently, which will have an effect on the relationship.
When discussing this relationship it’s important to name a specific audience.
One important audience to keep in mind is the media narrative’s target audience.
The target audience (or target market) is the specific group of people that the narrative was made for.
These are the people that the producers had in mind when shaping the codes and conventions of the narrative so they were done in such a way that they would find it very engaging.
Some media narratives try to appeal to a broad audience. Often big Hollywood Studio films need to consider how the film will be received in other countries such as China in order to get the most box office receipts.
Other media narratives may strive for a niche audience — a more specific subset of people. Often niche audiences enjoy a certain genre. These audiences are usually very well versed in the genre conventions and have particular expectations for the products they consume.
Other target audience considerations include demographic (age, gender, location) and also psychographic (interests, hobbies, lifestyle).
Answering relationship questions
When discussing the relationship between a media narrative and an audience, consider these questions:
- Who is a target audience for the media product?
- What expectations did these target audiences have for the film in terms of codes and conventions?
- Did the producer conform to these expectations?
Describe a relationship between a media narrative you have studied this year and its audience. (4 marks)
What to do
FIRST: Identify an audience of a narrative
THEN: Describe the expectations that this audience may have have for the narrative in codes and conventions
THEN: Describe how these expectations were/n’t met.
Words to include
Expectations, target audience, fans of…, prior knowledge, prior experience, prior enjoyment
How to begin
A target audience for ‘Jaws’ (Spielberg, 1975) were fans of….