Defining Audience

Are you an audience member because you have seen part of show while your house mate was watching The X Factor while you happened to be in the room? Are you an audience member because you saw the trailer, but have not seen the show? Are you an audience member because you watch the TV show every week, even though you hate it? Are you an audience member to a show you never watch, yet follow the Twitter hash tag for? Are you an audience member even though you do not watch a show, but read the press about it?

audience.jpg

These questions show the sort of problems that arise when trying to define audience. It is difficult at times to see who the audience of a show is and is not. For me, audience is the definition of people who watch and interact with a text at the time you are asking. For instance, you may have watched EastEnders every day a year ago but now never watch it. I would say that you were an audience member back then, but now you are not. If you have not watched the show, but read the press, you are not an audience member of the show, but an audience member of the press. If you have seen part of a show that your house mate is watching, you are an audience member at that point but not for its entirety, and if you watch a show every time it is on, even if you hate it, you are an audience member.

Like media, audience can be hard to define when you start looking at details. Audience can range from mass to niche, from one-to-one, to one-to-many, to many-to-many communications and can include fans, target audiences, passive and active audience members and consumers. Also like media, audiences evolve. Mass audience and the one-to-many format was a lot more common, but now, with increasing online media and increasing information dissemination, there are more niche audiences arising.

Rachel Measures

I do not own the above image, it is from: http://www.thesonproject.com/audience/
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