Why Ethnography?

Audience measurement as a practice assists broadcasters and advertisers in determining who is listening, rather than how many people are listening. Audience measurement revolves around knowing who’s watching, listening, interacting and engaging with content posted online, or content airing on television or the radio. It therefore measures how many people are in an audience, particularly in relation to radio listenership and television viewership, and also web traffic on websites.

As consumers of media, we are moving away from traditional mediums and are instead seeking for other alternatives. In particular, the rapidly evolving online media environment has provided consumers with the ability to access and engage with media a wider range of devices, platforms and mediums. This has resulted in an increase in consumers watching television programs via the Internet and on mobile devices, rather than on the television.

Due to this shift, there has been an increasing desire by broadcasters, advertisers and advertising agencies to have accurate, consistent an detailed information about TV audiences. As billions of dollars are spent every year on TV programs and commercials, it is vital for broadcasters and agencies to obtain reliable data and discover what it is the audience wants.

Ethnography can be defined as the study of social interactions, behaviors and perceptions that occur within groups, organizations, teams and universities. I will admit that at first I was confused as to what exactly this meant’. The central aim of ethnography is to provide rich, holistic insights into people’s views and actions, as well as the nature (that is, sights, sounds) of the location they inhabit, through the collection of detailed observations and interviews.

The concept is a branch of anthropology which involves trying to understand how we live our lives. Rather than traditional market researchers whom use specific and highly practical questions, anthropological researchers visit the consumers homes in order to observe and listen in a non-directed way. An example of a company who utilize this research as a key strategy to their organizations success is Intel. The goal is to see peoples behavior on their terms, not ours”. Whilst it can be argued that such a method is in-efficient it allows the organization to understand what meaning the product holds in the consumers lives.

When considering this research method and applying it to the television industry I could not go past Gogglebox.

For those of you who have never heard of Gogglebox I almost feel sorry for you as the show is hilarious! Even my nan laughed, and my nan never laughs. Gogglebox is a new reality television program that is based on a UK series that watches people watch TV. This new reality program is not about “TV” but rather family dynamics and human emotion. It allows individuals to see into seeing television that is watch how individuals look and feel whilst watching television itself.

The big problem that the Television industry faces is not only is online streaming and reality television taking over our desire to sit and watch a soap it is although everyone is now able to produce content rarely people produce content that audiences want. Therefore, moving away from numerical data and rating to determine what needs to stay and what needs to and to ethnography will prove beneficial for all audiences and the future of the television industry.

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