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Research techniques for the media industries Introduction Media production is a complex process and research is the starting point for productions of any scale. The films and television programmes that we watch, the radio programmes and podcasts that we listen to, the newspapers and magazines that we read and the websites and computer games that we interact with have all been thoroughly researched and planned in the pre-production stages. In the first part of this unit you will learn about the d
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  1   Research techniques forthe media industries Media production is a complex process and research is thestarting point for productions of any scale. The films and televisionprogrammes that we watch, the radio programmes and podcasts that we listen to, the newspapers and magazines that we read and thewebsites and computer games that we interact with have all beenthoroughly researched and planned in the pre-production stages.In the first part of this unit you will learn about the different purposesof research within the media industries. For example, research is usedto assess the financial viability of a planned production, to gather arange of information relevant to the content of the production, or toallow for the effective planning of a production schedule. There arealso media companies who conduct extensive market research inorder to gather data about audience consumption of media productsand services.In the second part of this unit you will have the opportunity to further develop your research skills and apply them to your own mediaproduction work. You will also learn how to use market researchintelligence to further improve the effectiveness of your mediaproducts. The final part of the unit will show you different ways in which you canpresent the results of your research.After completing this unit you should be able to achieve the following outcomes:Understand the purposes of research in the media industriesBe able to apply a range of research methods and techniquesBe able to present results of research   In troduc tion [2] BTEC National|Media|Book 1  1.1   1: Research techniques for the media industries [3]   T hink it ov er  Media pr oducts ar e of ten v er y  expensiv e and time-consuming to pr oduce, and ther e is a lot of  pr essur e on the people w ho plan and make them to get them r ight. A ma jor  Holly w ood f ilm such as  K i n g  K on g  ,  w hich cost ov er  $200 million to pr oduce and a f ur ther  $50 million to pr omote, needs to attr act a lar ge cinema audience to begin to r ecov er  these costs and also ear n additional r ev enue f r om DV D r ental and pur chase sales. Can y ou think of  any  other  w ay s in w hich the pr oducer s of  the f ilm can ear n extr a r ev enue?Similar ly , the companies w ho hav e paid money  to hav e their  pr oducts and ser v ices adv er tised in a glossy  lif esty le magazine or  pr ime-time soap, expect and demand a quality  pr oduct that w ill r each their  desir ed audience.Because of  these pr essur es and demands, media companies put a lot of  time and ef f or t into thor oughly  r esear ching a pr oduct to ensur e that it w ill attr act the r ight audience and that this audience w ill r eact to it in the appr opr iate w ay . T hey  also plan the pr oduction pr ocess thor oughly , and make use of  the latest technology  and techniques to ensur e that their  pr oduct has the desir ed v alues to compete ef f ectiv ely  in the media mar ketplace.As y ou lear n about the dif f er ent r esear ch methods and techniques that ar e used, y ou should be thinking about the r elev ance that they  hav e to y our  ow n pr oduction w or k in the other  units. Y ou should also think about how  y ou can use both mar ket r esear ch and pr oduction r esear ch to impr ov e the quality  and ef f ectiv eness of  y our  ow n media pr oducts.  [4] BTEC National|Media|Book 1 Purposes of research Tere are two main orms o research undertaken by the media industries. Te frst is called market research  and the second  production research . It is important thatyou understand the purposes o each o these orms o research and what they involve.   Marke t research Eective and successul media products target the rightaudience and communicate to them in an eective way.As the media industry becomes more ragmented socompetition or a share o the audience becomes moreintense. Knowing who your target audience are, and whatmakes them tick, is thereore increasingly important.Market research involves looking at:   statistical data about audience size and compositionor a particular media product (or example howmany people read Te Sun newspaper and what sorto people they are)   the extent to which a potential audience are aware o a media product or service (or example how many people are aware o new digital radio channels thatare available)   what people think about particular products andservices and what their patterns o behaviour are (orexample what people think about broadband Internettechnology and what they use it or)   market competitors who are competing or a shareo the audience and revenue with similar products(or example a company launching a new liestylemagazine will want to be ully inormed about othersimilar magazines).Te media marketplace is highly competitive and mediaproducers will oen undertake detailed research intotheir target market, or more commonly commissionother companies to undertake research on their behal. Market research organisations Tere are various organisations whose main role is toundertake market research on media audiences andproducts. Te fndings o their research oen become acommercial product in its own right that is then sold onto media companies.Some o this inormation is also reely available to thepublic. You can fnd examples by visiting the websites o the organisations listed below, as well as looking in themedia pages o newspapers such as Te Guardian and Te Independent  , and in specialist magazines such as Broadcast  . 1.1 Understand the purposes of research in the mediaindustries Key Terms Market research is the collection and analysisof information about the market within which aparticular product will compete with other productsfor an audience and for revenue. Production research is related to the productionprocess itself. Think it over Why do you think media producers employ othercompanies and organisations to carry out researchon their behalf? What are the advantages anddisadvantages of this approach? Key Terms National Readership Survey   (NRS) providesinformation to the industry on who reads whatpublication. Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) providescirculation information to the newspaper andmagazine industry.  [5] 1: Research techniques for the media industries 1.1 Te National Readership Survey    (NRS) is a non-proft-making organisation that provides inormationto the industry on who reads what publication. (SeeFigure 1.01) Tey provide a market breakdown o thereadership o each newspaper and magazine accordingto such actors as gender, age, social class and many other demographic and liestyle characteristics. Tisinormation is invaluable to companies and agenciesthat are planning, buying and selling advertising in theprint medium, as the data allows them to target the rightaudience more eectively.Te NRS publishes data covering over 250 newspapers,newspaper supplements and consumer magazines,which is made available to its subscribers via itswebsite.Te Audit Bureau o Circulation (ABC) also providescirculation inormation to the newspaper and magazineindustry and includes directories, leaets, exhibitionsand websites in its range o products researched. It waslaunched in 1931 in response to demands rom theadvertising industry or independent verifcation o the circulation and readership claims made by the salesteams o newspapers and magazines.Te Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB)  is used by the BBC and independent broadcasters toprovide estimates o the number o people watching theirprogrammes. Te data produced includes which channelsand programmes are being watched at a specifc time,and a breakdown o the type o people who are watchinga particular programme. BARB provides televisionaudience data or all analogue and digital channelsreceived within the UK. Te inormation is obtainedrom panels o viewers rom selected television-owninghouseholds, representative o each IV and BBC region.Te data produced by the research represents the viewingbehaviour o over 25 million households within the UK Radio Joint Audience Research Limited (RAJAR)was established in 1992 to operate a single audiencemeasurement system or the radio industry, including allBBC, UK-licensed and other commercial stations. Te Key Terms Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB)  provides estimates of the number of people watchingtelevision programmes. Radio Joint Audience Research Limited   (RAJAR)  provides estimates of the number of people listeningto radio programmes.  TitleReadersABC1C2DE15–4444+MaleFemale000s%000s%000s%000s%000s%000s%000s% Take aBreak  33547.012154.621399.918217.615336.44562.0289811.7 OK  24525.114165.410374.819077.95462.33661.620878.4 RadioTimes 28766.021688.27083.39784.118987.913655.915116.1 Nuts 12712.66022.36693.111945.0770.310864.71850.7  AutoTrader  15903.37803.08103.712995.42911.212725.53181.3 The Sun 787416.4289911.0497522.9478519.8308912.9462719.8324713.1 Daily Mail 536411.2347213.218928.717137.1365015.2256011.0280311.3 TheGuardian 11902.510724.11170.56462.75432.36973.04922.0 Figure 1.01: Table from NRS showing selection of magazines and newspapers (Source: NRS )
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