AUDIENCES FOR MEDIA PRODUCTS
Media audiences are typically categorized into three different groups, each of which aims to help define the audience for a product, which is used to focus on the primary and secondary audiences for said product.
The three categories are;
Geo-demographic refers to the location of the audience. For instance the popular first person shooter series, Call of Duty, sells the vast majority of its global sales in the United States and Europe as you play as America and western civilizations against terrorists who are generally Russian or Islamic extremists. While these games sell all around the world and routinely sell tens of millions of copies every year, they are obviously less popular in the Middle East and Asia as the idea of an American white knight hero is less prevalent there.
In contrast, games like El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron, based on one of the Jewish stories about god, are focused on other regions. In addition to this, Japanese role-playing-games (JRPGS) such as Shin Megami Tensei and Final Fantasy are designed to appeal to primarily Asian audiences although Final Fantasy tends to sell all around as both tend to focus on themes that are not marketable in the west, such as SMT usually focusing on Jungan philosophy and demons and God.
Games are often referred to as western- (RPGs etc) or Asian with both having features or characteristics that are typical of their games design. For TV show and Films, there are regional likes and dislikes but also the sorts of show and films that are consumed in Asia, Europe and America.
Psychographic refers to the individual person and includes their likes and dislikes and what they like to do in their daily lives. A common way to define the psychographic profiles are through the “4Cs”; Struggler, Mainstreamer, Aspirer, Succeeder and Explorer. Struggler is defined as people who are disorganised. Mainstreamer are people who are conventional and passive. Aspirer are people who are materialistic and value image, appearance and persona. Succeeder are people who are strong and confident while Explorer is defined as people who have energy and are keen to explore new things.
So if someone is an explorer they might prefer open world games like Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim or an MMO like World of Warcraft as they like to explore and discover new things which would be the antithesis of a more linear and level based game like Call of Duty or Super Meat Boy. Aspirer might like a simulation game like The Sims where they can customise their appearance and have their character lead a lifestyle that they want. Mainstreamer tends to like whatever is the most popular game while Strugglers like all sorts but tend to go with the most impactful and sensationalist games that are maybe short and sweet so many digital or indie titles would be applicable here.
Demographics refers to how people can be divided based on their job, income, class and age. There are several groups/tiers of demographics to separate higher earners from lower earners and middle class from working class people etc. Lawyers, Doctors, Scientists would be well paid professionals of the higher earner category. Teachers and middle management would be just below the higher earners/well paid professionals. Junior management, bank clerks and nurses would be white collar professions and be part of the third tier of earners, although there is some variation and the tiers/categories are not fixed.
Electricians, plumbers and carpenters would be blue collar professions and be around the same tier as those who work in a white collar profession. The next tier/category would be those manual workers such as drivers or post sorters while the final category would be for students, the unemployed and pensioners. While demographics are far broader than the other categories and play almost all types of games, when talking about demographics it’s about what games they play but how many.
So people on lower incomes will focus on games they enjoy and can invest time into and will buy games sporadically and are less likely to buy DLC, although again they may buy DLC for games they know and love rather than games they are less invested in. The middle tier of earners may buy games and DLC more liberally as they can afford it, and while they would thus still be conscious of what they like and dislike, they would be more open to taking risks with their purchases rather than getting things that they know they love and enjoy, they may experiment more. The highest tier of earners are more likely to buy whatever they have an interest in, whether they are previously a fan or if it’s a passing interest as they are more likely to have the disposable income to afford it.
For Film and TV, demographics would help define what audience they are going for. For instance for a TV show like Downton Abbey they may think that the primary target audience are people who like high-society and period dramas while there would be a large secondary audience for people who also love period dramas and the look, style and feel of that time period so it’s immediately more far reaching because there is such a wide audience for the TV shows.
As well as that, in Films something like The Avengers would be an example where the primary target audience are people who have seen previous Marvel films and not even people who read the comics, while the secondary target audience are the comic book fans and anyone else who has an interest in the universe through word of mouth or the trailers that try to present a fun action movie.
So, in conclusion, Geo-demographics, Psychographics and Demographics are all incredibly useful for developers and film and TV studios in defining audiences for their products. Whether you want a hard-core game that would require time and investment like an MMO or something shorter and more digestible like a Call of Duty game or a Platformer like Super Mario Galaxy 2, these are very useful to help focus on an audience for a game and also give them an idea of who their game appeals to and how they can iterate on it in future releases and sequels etc so they reach an even wider audience.