You have been asked to prepare a report for a Marketing Manager of a television production company. The company has undertaken research to examine consumers' attitudes towards reality television and have access to raw data.
REPORT: MARKETING MANAGER.
1.0 CONTEXT OF THE REPORT
1.1 Purpose of the Report
The chief purpose of this report is to examine the consumers attitude towards reality television. Reality television was introduced not long ago but it has become quite a vital genre containing a number of reality programs, which improve the experience of the viewers by providing the target audience with the choice of participating actively in the said show. The purpose is to examine and evaluate the reasons behind the motivation of viewers to involve themselves actively in a TV show. The report also looks into the advantages and pros of projected gratifications vis a vis the actual results achieved through Reality TV shows.
1.2 Background of the Report
The last ten years or so have witnessed the immense growth of reality television and its popularity has kept shooting with time. Explaining what reality television is is quite problematic as theres a very thin line between fact and fiction in as much as it purports to portray reality (Cavendar & Fishman 1998: 3)
Reality television has the following characteristics:
It involves the recording of events in the lives of people or a group.
It tries to create real life events through dramatized reconstruction.
Packaging the TV show into an eye catching program containing entertainment value which has the ability to be marketed based on the strengths of the values and status of its reality (Kilborn 1994; 421)
Its important to note that Reality Television has helped in enabling audiences to take part fully and influence the results of events of real life (albeit the fact that its a simulation) Hellman (1992: 112) points out that the viewers are the new kings when it comes to TV. The drastic changes have led to broadcasters focusing more on the needs of the audience. Some of the reasons to back this claim include:
Financial position of TV. Advertising to improve sales and to provide money for the broadcasters.
The fragmentation of the viewers because of increase in available channels. Many available choices has led to an audience thats unpredictable and caused a TV market thats saturated in nature (Hellman 1999: 112)
This report focuses on the viewers of Tropical Island and Isolated House so as to come up with answers to the queries of viewers participation when it comes to reality television.
1.3 Relevance of the Report
As mentioned above, reality TV popularity is fast growing and this can be backed by the fact that the national televisions usually broadcast quite a number of reality shows. It is also important to note that most of these shows are televised in prime time broadcast. Reality TV has some advantages, which have endeared it to broadcasters and production companies, and these include: They are popular; they incur low production costs and are cheap.
2. TYPE OF STUDY
The main objective of this report is to examine consumers attitude towards reality television
3. FORMULATION OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM AND RESEARCH QUESTIONS
Marketing Management Problem (MMP)
Should NBN introduce a new Reality TV show?
Marketing Research Problem (MRP)
What are consumers attitudes towards Reality TV?
In order to come up with a comprehensive report, the following research questions were presented:
What is the motivation behind viewers participating actively in Tropical Island and Isolated House?
What are some of the gratifications that the audience seeks to get by involving themselves fully in Tropical Island and Isolated House?
What are some of the perceived gratifications achieved by involving oneself fully in Tropical Island and Isolated House?
How frequently does the audience participate in voting for the characters in Tropical Island and Isolated House?
How often does the audience see Tropical Island and Isolated House?
What are some of the interactive opportunities does the audience make good use of?
Are the viewers of Tropical Island and Isolated House consulted on extra sources other than the normal broadcast of the show so as to get additional information about the programme?
Whether watching Tropical Island and Isolated House is part of the audience daily activities.
Whether those who watch the two shows debate about them with acquaintances or family.
Whether the audiences establish a relationship, which is Para social in nature, together with the characters of Tropical Island and Isolated House.
Whether social and/or cultural influences drive the audience in watching the reality shows and sticking to then.
Marketing Research Objectives (MROs)
To determine if there is a relationship between connecting with participants and enjoyment of reality TV shows.
To compare attitudes towards reality TV shows between males and females.
To identify if there is a relationship between age and preference towards reality TV shows.
To determine the relationship between enjoyment of reality TV shows and the depiction of real life within a reality TV show.
To compare the importance of having attractive participants and depicting real life behaviors
To compare enjoyment of Reality TV shows between shows with unfamiliar settings (Tropical Island, Isolated house) and staged setups.
This report is based upon some theoretical assumptions and these include:
A number of factors (personal in nature, social, emotional, psychological, cognitive etc.) are behind the reasons why the audience participates very interactively in Tropical Island and Isolated House.
The audience expects and gets gratifications upon taking part in the two shows. The frequency in which voting takes place shows the participation level of the audience. The audience of Tropical Island and Isolated House get additional information from other sources of media about the shows. Viewing and voting in Tropical Island and Isolated House is incorporated into the audience daily life and social activities. That cultural and social backgrounds play a role in the interpretation and understanding of the message and participation in the shows interactively.
This report has employed the use of qualitative methods. Bryman (1988;60) lists some features of qualitative research. First that a qualitative research tries to be objective, not subjective. Secondly, it proposes that events are comprehended within the context in which they are. This approach also sees processes to be interactive.
It uses questionnaires and focus group transcripts. Vaughn, Schumm and Sinagub (1996:4) define focus group interviews as the discussion of a
specific theme among a group of selected individuals.
Formulation and Compilation of questionnaires (which were open ended) was performed
Reality Television Questionnaire
5. CONCLUSION, FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Online Focus Group Data (transcribed verbatim)
I would have imagined that some kind of acting is just inevitable. and in fact when you look at the contestants they're all 'carefully' selected
These shows may not be authentic, but it matters not too much to me as Im not trying to get anything out of it apart from the entertainment value. Sometimes watching these people running around in front of the camera could be fun!
These shows depict real-life, direct and true reactions of the people participating in them. I do agree with the fact that in most shows everybody's simply playing roles, however for the above two shows which are supposed to be live, I feel that the focus is taken away from the real-life element of what they were meant to
be. Partially perhaps the participants give me the impression that they do acknowledge the fact that they are on the show evidently most of the time for a negative reason.
Reality TV is not real at all.
I see those shows as acting and nothing else. Who would be totally comfortable being themselves knowing they are being filmed 24 hours? Who wouldnt be tempted to pretend to be someone that they dont normally get to be on TV, even
though the shows are supposed to be 100% real and genuine? Real-life TV, despite their controversial nature, should be treated no differently from other TV programs- their ultimate purpose is to provide entertainment and nothing else, and viewers should not take them too seriously.
From our discussion we can see that the different kind of real-life Tv shows are viewed differently among you.
What is needed from a real-life TV show to make it interesting to you? Is it the setting (outback/ tropical island/isolated house/ city), a competitive incentive (1m$) or the people participating (looks/age/background/profession)? And what makes it not appealing to you?
I feel that an interesting real life tv programme should have the elements of excitement, adventures and "unpredictable development /results" which keep the viewers "busy" trying to predict what will come up next. This will help to keep the viewers stay tuned to the programme. An unfamiliar set up (isolated house / island etc.) is good for imaginative. And, yes, the participants have got to be those whom are interesting or of some caliber
I think real life TV can also be considered as just another form of tv programme.. like an alternative to movies, sitcoms, etc. And, since it is "produced" - we just have to accept the facts that to some extent it is "created". Created with skills & techniques and the ideas to make it interesting and yet not too far from real life
Since there are people who are willing to participate in these shows and the shows are so popular among the viewers, should they be restricted by the government for example? Are regulations the problem-solving factor or will the viewers leave these shows if they turn too silly?
One of the major things about Real Life TV vs. ordinary shows is that ordinary people are the participants in Real Life TV. They are not in the show because they are famous or have done something extraordinary. Is this a good or a bad thing? Would it be more interesting to view the "rich & famous" rather than just some guy from somewhere? Or is this a good thing, showing "real people" and how they decide to handle different situations?
Firstly I do not think that real life shows are threatening in any way or that they would influence people badly. I think you overreact when you say that people might not be able to distinguish reality from fiction.
I disagree. They have a profile check before they are cast for the real life shows. That means that if you do not fit the profile they are looking for you are out. That profile does not include everyday life normal human beings...they only ever look for someone that they know will look good in front of the cameras and can
entertain the audiences. To me that is acting. Besides most of them became cover of magazines and go on life interviews after the show is finished. That means they would not choose someone that they knew was not willing to do it.
Black, T.R. (1999). Doing quantitative research in the social sciences. London: SAGE
Cavender, G & Fishman, M. (1998). Entertaining Crime: Television Reality Programs. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.
Clark, B. 2002. The box of tricks, in Reality TV: How real is real?, edit...
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