Monday, 6 March 2017

Is it important for media content provider to understand its audience? If yes, how do they do it?

three different ways to understand

The most important source of revenue for a media house is through its advertisers. For advertisers, media is the most used and the most important medium for propagating and communicating about their products. But, no media business can exist without content that attracts consumers, or audiences, because audiences are those people to whom a media product is directed. Advertisers are keenly aware that the kinds of content they produce, distribute and exhibit must be attractive to audiences if money is to flow their way instead of to their competitors.

Though advertisers and media outlets are mutually helpful to each other, but their main target audiences are the customers, who depending on the advertisements decide upon their interests and preferences and then respond positively to these advertisements. This generates profits for the advertising company, which in turn is the major source of revenue for the media house.

For example, suppose ‘Pantaloons’ has a deal with the leading English daily ‘ The times of India’, then the readers who subscribe the newspaper will notice the advertisement of that particular brand also. This, as described earlier will be useful for both advertisers and media house.

But there are many difficulties associated while identifying the potential customers. The three main issues of concern for media executives are-
  1. How should we think about our audience? How should we define our audience?
  2. Will the material we are thinking of creating, distributing, or exhibiting to attract that audience generate adequate revenues?
  3. Were the people we thought would be attracted to our products in fact attracted to our products? Why or why not?

Executives who are charting the direction of media firms do not think about the members of their audience in the same way that they think about themselves. Take, for example, Kritika has a number of attributes associated with her, from physical to financial to emotional and many other factors. So, it becomes really difficult for the executives to know her personally. In fact, they are not really thinking specifically about Kritika at all. Instead, the characteristics that describe Kritika for a particular media are those that the media executives can use when they parade clusters of readers in front of potential advertisers as types of people the advertisers can reach through their media. Now, there might be some of her attributes which might make her attractive to a particular brand and certain other attributes to some other brand. These are the attributes that major advertisers consider when they think about buying space in media like newspapers, magazines, television and other medium of broadcasting. Now let’s consider an example, If Kritika is a 21 year old fashion designing student, then her course and her age might be useful for certain clothing lines and if she is a student who is staying alone in a city away from her parents and is financially unstable, then certain ads for educational loans and other financial aid might be useful for her.

But how does the media house identify such characteristics of the audience?
They do it through certain research, surveys and questionnaires. They even get some of their data from lists that are bought from the companies that bring together information about millions of people and sell that information to media firms.
Since , media outlets gets at least half of its revenue from advertising, its executives wants to keep subscribers who are attractive to advertisers, so they use the information they have about their subscribers that they have identified as being attractive to advertisers, to help them decide what kinds of materials in that particular media will keep these people as subscribers. These identified and selected population segments, then become the desired audience for the media vehicle. Once executives have identified the target segments, they try to learn things about them that will lead to increasing sales. That, in turn leads to more research to understand the groups.

For example, suppose Vaishali is a subscriber to a lifestyle magazine and she has some particular interests. Now, if the magazine is unable to produce content that will keep her glued to the magazine, she will cancel her subscription, which is not good for the business of the magazine.
Thinking about the audience, then, means learning to think of people primarily as consumers of media materials and other products. For media professionals, thinking about people in this way requires a combination of intuition and solid knowledge of the marketplace. When advertisers contribute all or part of a firm’s revenue stream, the firm’s executives have two challenges:

  • They have to create content that will attract audiences,
  • And they must also make sure that the content and the audience it brings in will be attractive to advertisers so that money flows its way, instead of to its competitors.

Sometimes, in fact media executives reverse the order of the questions. They first ask which audiences advertisers want to reach, and then look for ways to attract those audiences. For example, a particular channel has a time slot which caters to a particular genre of viewers, let’s take the channel ‘ Colors’ for instance, the 7-10 pm slot is covered by basically housewives and some young girls who prefer watching television serials. Now, the advertisers covet that particular group, so the important job for the production firms that work with the network is to come up with ideas that will be magnet to that age group.

Therefore, many companies spend a lot of energy deciding which audiences they should pursue ,what those audiences’ characteristics are, and what those audiences like and don’t like. Executives try to verify their intuitions and control their risks with research. In conducting this research, they think about the types of people who make up their audience- that is, they construct their audience- in three different ways which will be explained below with greater detail:

DEMOGRAPHICS: It refers to the characteristics by which people are divided into particular social categories. It’s one of the simplest and most common ways to construct audiences. Media executives focus on those characteristics, or factors, which they believe are most relevant to understanding how and why people use their medium. Demographic indicators include such factors as age, gender, occupation, ethnicity, race, and income. There can be various sub-categories or variants in these demographic characteristics.

PSYCHOGRAPHICS: It’s a way to differentiate among people or groups by categorizing them according to their attitudes, personality types, or motivation. It denotes the grouping of people into homogeneous segments on the basis of above said factors. They classify people according to their attitude towards life and their purchasing habits.

LIFESTYLE CATEGORIES: The third broad way to describe media audiences is by using lifestyle categories- finding activities in which potential audiences are involved that mark them as different from others in the audience or in the population at large. This kind of segmentation is determined by a large number of variables that may be categorized as purchase occasions, benefits sought, user status, or user age rate.