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Unit 6: Critical Approaches to Creative Media Products

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on 12 December 2013

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Transcript of Unit 6: Critical Approaches to Creative Media Products

Media producers from E4 use social networking and other types of media such as Television, Radio and Ads to generate a good audience and to gain great ideas for what to show on their Channel.
One of the questions I have to answer is "How might the producers have defined the audience for E4?"
The producers have done a lot of market research online, on TV and in surveys. The producers have an effect on the audience and that is shown by how many viewers there are watching the TV shows every single day an example of this is from the website BARB, which shows the most watched channels, the viewer ratings for a day week month or year. As you can see from this image I have screen grabbed this image from the website, here are the top 10 programs that have been watched this week on E4 and how many people have watched them for at least 5 minutes.
I have also received an email from the management of skins which is a TV show broadcast on all E4 based channels asking me to go to Manchester to be involved in Cooks Rave for the television show Skins, you can go along and meet the cast and crew that are there as well as meeting new people, being on TV and having fun at the same time. This is an upside for E4 because so many people went to that ‘rave’ that they would tell a friend and so on, which means fun for the viewer, promote on for E4 and Skins the program, That’s not all!
The methods that E4 use are pretty simple.
They are viral which means they have videos on YouTube, their own website and wherever else you can find them, they have pictures, Facebook pages, twitter accounts 12 different platforms varying from Channel 4 to 4oD For those of you who don’t know what that means, it’s (On Demand) so you can watch it on your smart phone, laptop and television.

What effect are the producers trying to have on the audience?
The producer’s want the audience to watch their TV shows on a regular basis and tell their friends/family/social networks about the TV shows too! This is free product placement for the company, which means the producers do not have to advertise as much if their TV shows are worth watching.
The producers have achieved an effect on people with quotes from scripts that are used in E4 shows including Estings, which is an advert that I will get to later on.
E4 has an ideological agenda when it comes to creating TV shows, this means that it attends to people social needs, for example: social networking platforms like blogs, vlogs and forums, also Text messaging, image sites such as Instagram, Redbubble and Flickr, even as simple as conversing face to face in an ordinary social situation.
E4 has a commercial agenda in the sense that it wants to earn money for the television shows it broadcasts on a daily basis, gaining more views on new programs, videos, posts and more whether it's on TV or online.

Money is what keeps channels like E4 on the TV due to great shows, happy viewers and popular understandable characters such as Penny (The Big Bang Theory), Liam (90210), Effy, (Skins) and Barney (How I Met Your Mother)
They also use most of these camera angles in the programs such as Hollyoaks, Skins, and 90210. They are used in a way so the viewer has more of a connection to the programmed and with the actors.
Who is the target audience for E4?
As it is shown here on this informative page I found on the Channel E4 website it shows that the most common audience age range varies from 16 – 34 year olds you have to just think, this was back when Dawson’s Creek and Sex in The City was shown on E4, not more recently while How I Met Your Mother or The Big Bang Theory are being broadcast. And this is quite a wide variety of people.
For example I follow E4 on my Facebook account that lets me see whenever they post things, they have surveys, pictures of old and new television programmes, competitions to win great prizes and videos and sneak peaks too. This is how they generate a good audience because people like to get involved.
So basically we are working for them by giving them the information that they want, so then they work for us by producing a TV show what we like! Pretty good right. They do have a student slackers movie club where students are able to go along to their local movie theatre and watch a premiere of the latest films. Here is what it says on the E4 website.
The producers are trying to interact with their potential audience which is a good thing, they want the audience to give their own opinions on TV shows, they want you to get creative and even be on TV yourself, for example You can create your own avert which promotes E4 and you have the chance of winning prizes and to have your advert broadcast on television as an official E4 ad which is pretty decent!
As I said before Social networking is a great way to create an audience, with Facebook and twitter being a major way to get your point across. Promotion and adverts could not be easier. I am a worker and so are the rest of you guys… and for free might I add, not a bad thing at all. I can’t wait for the next series of New girl, The big bang theory or even how I met your mother Even though I’m making a review show about E4 I just promoted 3 of E4s programs just by saying that I liked them. This is product placement.
They are trying to gain a specific crowd of people, in my opinion this audience that watch E4 start at an age of 15 years old and carries on to at least 30 years old. Most of the TV shows my friends and I watch are on in the evening and on different days of the week too, if there is a new series on, for example 90210 is on Monday nights at 9.00PM which is after I have had my evening meal, when I'm relaxing and haven't got plans because I have college work to do it's a nice way to unwind and I enjoy watching it because the characters are relatable.
I think that this is the same for most people because good TV shows that are on during the week when people are in full/part time education or work will tune in to E4 because they are relaxing, they like to keep up with the story line and or they can relate to at least three of the characters from one specific TV show which is broadcast on E4, for example an individual viewer could be going through the same struggles as a character at the time and that's why they watch it, just to see what the outcome of their problem is.
Another effect the producers are trying to have on the audience is emotion! This plays a big part in how the viewers will respond to the TV Channel, for example Ted Mosby from the E4 spin off series of Friends called How I Met Your Mother is a wonderful young architect that has absolutely no luck with keeping a relationship until he meets "The One", there are constant flashbacks of things that him and his friends do, this can be relatable because for the male audience, they may not have any luck with women like he does, and for the female audience, they may have been in the same situations as his failed girlfriends have been.
Also the show is about a group of friends that spend most of their time in Clancy’s Bar below the apartment which Ted, Lilly and Marshall live in for a while, This is a relatable and could potentially link to the viewers friendship groups that they have.
I have heard many people use the phrase "BAZINGA" which is said by Sheldon Cooper from the hit TV show The Big Bang Theory; he says this when he has been sarcastic or made a joke. The ever growing audiences from the E4 shows Will post quotes, videos, pictures, and gifs on their Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other social networking websites which people will recognize and potentially interact.
They also try and pinpoint a broad range of people in the same cultural environment, social classes and economic state, the audience would be similar on most of these levels due to profiling for personal and commercial gain. I would say an example of this is lower/middle class families with a functioning TV and Freeview/Sky Box with E4 on, any normal working class family such as my own and many of my friends have E4 as a channel, if not they have Mobiles, Laptops, iPads and other devices that would be compatible to stream E4 due to 4oD.
Just to throw a stereotype in I would have thought upper class families such as the Royal family, do not watch Skins and The Mindy Project which are shown on E4 because it doesn't appeal to their social class or intellectual values at all.
An economic example also is that E4 has competitions for the public, this also includes freebies that happen throughout the year like movie premiers and the student slackers movie club. This is mostly for those who don't have a lot of spare cash for example, high school and college/university students.
General characteristics of the audience that the product E4 appeals to is down to looks, friendship groups, sense of humour, personalities, social situations, personal life struggles, music taste, fashion sense and pretty much anything normal or different that the individual see hear or feel about themselves, this is how E4 connects to the viewer on a completely different level and is why it's such a popular and well loved Channel. An example of this is in Skins where at least one character conveys a basic structure of personality that can potentially represent a viewer in one way or another.
What techniques do the producers use to achieve those effects?
In some scenes of a few of the shows that are broadcast on E4 they use narrative script structures for example when a text message or letter is being read on camera, there is narration in the background of the scene, a good example of narrative script is from the TV show How I Met Your Mother where Ted Mosby narrates some parts of the TV show where it is relevant.

The scripting that is used for a couple of shows that are broadcast on E4 use a certain type of script that will make an audience laugh because it is an open set recording with a real life crowd of people, examples of this are How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory. There are many jokes, product placements, emotional scenes and plenty of creative language that is embedded in the script, which makes the programs more lovable and gains more views and interactions for the Channel its self.
The camera angles that E4 use are all different because the TV shows that they broadcast are different, most of the programs that are aired are for comedic value, the list of camera angles are used in a way that the crowd can see the actors but also are placed in a way that the producers and camera men can film the show so they can broadcast it on E4.
WS Wide Shot
- The subject takes up the full frame, or at least as much as comfortably possible.
MS Mid Shot
- Shows some part of the subject in more detail while still giving an impression of the whole subject.
MCU Medium Close Up
- Half way between a MS and a CU.
CU Close Up
- A certain feature or part of the subject takes up the whole frame.
ECU Extreme Close Up
- The ECU gets right in and shows extreme detail.
CI Cut In
- Shows some (other) part of the subject in detail.
OSS Over the Shoulder Shot
- Looking from behind a person at the subject.
- A shot of two people, framed similarly to a mid shot.

This will give a different experience and possibly an emotion. The different camera angles will have an effect on the individual and how they perceive the scene they are watching. Most to all of the programmed broadcast on E4 have been shot on a set, this means the budget is bigger, props and walls can be changed and moved easier and it has more of a professional look to it for example; a movie set.
Music is a very important part of a TV show, it sets the tone for each scene that is made to be magnified, even when a dialogue isn't used in a scene, the music that is used tells the story and plays a big part. The music gives you an idea of what the character/s at the time is a feeling/doing, as a part of silent filming the music is used to build emotion suspense, action and comedy.
Different colours are used in TV shows for reasons such as these.
Emotions: for example if a scene has a dark colour too it, it could mean someone has died, something bad is about to happen or it is nighttime. And the opposite of this is that when it is light with a slight bloom, the producer may want the scene to he happy, romantic or something good is about to happen.

E4 uses symbolism in some of its programmes for example in the programme How I Met Your Mother a quote that I have taken from the TV show is "Kids, there's more than one story of how I met your mother. You know the short version, the thing with your moms yellow umbrella, but there's a bigger story."
The yellow umbrella is an object originally owned by the mother, which comes into the possession of Ted after she leaves it at a party, it's often used to represent her since she remains faceless, it's first significance was first mentioned during the episode 'Wait for it'
Colours and scenery almost speak to the viewer and tell them that Ted's life is dull and rainy without the love of his life, this is shown by the bright yellow umbrella and the black and white scenery surrounding that vibrant colour, this is a great editing technique to portray emotion and meaning.

E4 uses different types of research such as Quantitative, which means they define their subjects with numbers/letters usually associated with experimental research methods.
An example would be - closed questions on a questionnaire would generate quantitative data because they produce either numerical data or data that can be put into categories (“yes”, “no” answers).

And qualitative research, which is the expression of feelings, thoughts and behaviour. The information cannot be 100% accurate when carried out. An example would be someone telling us his or her thoughts and feelings on the subject you are trying to find information about.

Socio-Economic status Research
This is a method used by industries and businesses to find the right economic class audience, for example you traditionally have three classes, which are upper class, middle class and lower class. This depends on the job you have and the economic state that you live.

A very common and traditional method when narrowing down an audience is making a demographics chart to gain the best audience for your product.
This technique is similar to demographics but it deals with an audiences behaviour and personality more than social class…Media producers use psychographics to help profile their audience because just like demographic charts, they are much more detailed and offer a larger variety of audience to choose from.

Media producers need to ensure that they can completely define a basic target audience for their channel and programmes in that channel which will appeal to that specific target audience.

Passive Audience Theory
This is hypodermic needle theory, the idea that the media product will 'inject' ideas directly to the individual audience members, this means that the producers will be able to control how the audience think and behave.

Active Audience Theory.
This is the idea that the audience have their own mind, and they play an active role in the understanding and creation of a meaning within the media.
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