Category Archives: Audience

Audience Classification In My CofC

My Cabinet of Curiosities consists of a number of media platforms and a varied collection of texts. I would just like to point out that if I included everything I wanted to, my Cabinet would be huuuge and therefore I was selective about what went in – I find it to be more of a taster.

Most of the television programmes I have listed are aimed at lower level audience classes, C1 and lower. For me, television is purely an entertainment product. I will watch educational programmes and the news for example but the things in my cabinet fit this class. When I watch news broadcasts, they tend to be BBC or ITV which firstly are subjected to certain suppression by government and power leaders (where as Sky News is free to say things without censorship) and therefore I am subjected to a certain way of thinking. This, in my opinion, makes the class for these broadcasts lower as we are given news in a certain manner and perspective and I don’t have to actively think about what this means, why it happened etc. Someone else is doing that and telling me what to think.
QI is in my cabinet – a program I passionately enjoy. As this programme is education and (despite being a comedy) talks about subjects on an intellectual level, I feel it’s target audience is higher, perhaps B1. On the other hand, the NRS social grade classes audiences purely based on income and positions of responsibility which renders levels of intellectual interaction irrelevant which it makes it harder to determine a text.

The music I listen to is extremely varied. Some have political messages, others are about nonsense. My point here is that, once again, the NRS scale can not be used to determine what audiences listen to music. Just because someone is the most highest earner in the world with ultimate power does not mean they dont, by their own choice, listen to a certain genre of music.

The film types I enjoy once again have me questioning that the NRS scale is irrelevant in determining which audiences consume which classes. I could practically repeat myself here with the same things I talked about in the TV section.

Active & Empowered Audience

  An Active or Empowered Audience is a concept that applies to an audience being in control of the media they consume. This can either be a good thing, as an audience can choose what they want and what is produced for them, or not, as they can be vulnerable as well as creating problems for media producers.

  There are a number of theories which support this concept; the first being the “Two-Step-Flow”. This deals with the idea that mass media is produced and consumed by opinion leaders. They in turn encourage the spread of the media product to other users. This then becomes a chain of one opinion leader spreading out to other users who then become an opinion leader and do the same. Another theory is the Hypodermic Syringe Theory. This works around the basis that audiences are ‘injected’ with ideologies and ways of perceiving the media. An idea is metaphorically inserted into an audience who then believe in that idea. Blumer and Katz also have a theory based on empowered audiences. This is the ‘Users and Gratification Theory’. Basically, user play and active role in choosing what media they use.

  Katz also worked with Larzersfield combining the Hypodermic Syringe theory and the two step flow which says that there are other layers in these theories which look at anyone influential to a user being an opinion leader. However, these can be interpersonal forms of communication.

  Work of Stuart Hall takes this active audience concept further looking at social groups and their contexts. This looks at an institution encoding a text which is then decoding by an audience which may not be the same ideology. This moves on to authorship and is an example of intended meaning. Authorship posts the question ‘who owns an idea?’ a very fair point due to the fact that you may have an idea that you give to someone else, but they may in turn create their own meaning on this idea. Therefore, the idea is not one unity. On the other hand, the meaning and idea could undergo misinterpretation where one is conveyed but another is understood.

  The issue of authorship is studied in ‘The Death of an Author’ by the theorist Roland Barthes. He looks at several issues which are presented with meaning and interpretation. The interpretation of signs and symbols and what they mean (semiotics) is different depending on who consumes the media they are in; this renders the notion of a single idea really existing void. Barthes also asks “how can an author have any power to oppositional readers?”  He makes the point the no matter what the author intended the text to be, it does not define the meaning.

The ABC Scale

The ABC Scale is a scale to highlight the audience within class groups. The categories the letters represent are:

A – Upper Middle Class (Higher managerial, administrative and professional, such as managers)

B – Middle Class (Intermediate managerial, administrative or professional, such as deputy secretary, or similar professions)

C1 – Lower Middle class (Supervisory or Clerical, junior managerial, administrative, such as a supervisor for a company)

C2 – Skilled working class (Skilled Manuel workers, such as mechanics, or entrepreneurs)

D – Lower working class (Semi and unskilled Manuel workers, such as mechanical trainees, or building labourers)

E – Lowest level of subsistence (state pensioners or widows, casual or lowest grade workers, such as students)

When looking at earnings within the bands, the estimate earnings a year are:

A – £50,000 and over

B – £35-50,000

C – £15,000 – 25,000

D – £7,000 – 15,000

E – £5,000-7,000