Arresting Audiences – part one

September 25, 2010 at 11:24 am (Conferences) (, , , , , )

Who Do You Think They Are? – Mark McCrindle (McCrindle Research)

Mark eased the audience into the world of statistics by comparing them to a book of 3D images – at a cursory glance they are just patterns and colours, but looking deeply reveals meaning and context. The sales pitch quickly derailed when he then examined a helpful little book on How to Survive the ’80s and started talking about the “timeless realities of us as humans”, temporals, and DNA. I half expected Doctor Who to make an appearance just to chip in with “wibbley wobbley timey wimey”.

Eventually, we got around to the 7 trends in audiences – of which I got 6. (And I don’t feel bad, because @FilmVictoria missed #3 as well. Or maybe it disappeared into a temporal wormhole.)

1. Booming

I can’t say I keep an eye on birth rates myself, so it was a surprise to learn that last year there were over 300,000 births – which is 30,000 more than the peak rate in the post-World War II baby boom. It seems Australians have been, well, productive since 2001, when we hit our lowest birth rate. Of course, we’re also increasing our population – and our multi-culturalism – through immigration.

Some film and television viewing stats about this booming audience that may piqué your curiosity:
– 85% say that they watch Australian content (film + tv)
– 1/3 of this group couldn’t actually name an Australian film that they have watched
– 1/5 of Australians do not watch Australian film
This last figure did not surprise me. I had recently hypothesised to a friend that Australian films can be categorised into three main types: larrikin, intense family drama, and horror. Regardless of debates over the quality of, or even the quantity at which we produce films – without having a greater variety there’s always going to be a fair proportion of the audience who is just not interested. This debate really came to the fore during the fourth panel Investigating Genre.

2. Changing
– Households are smaller (with single households, and couples without kids, being the fastest growing type of household).
– Age demographics are shifting: by 2020 there will be as many 15-19 year olds, as there are 60-64 year olds.
From this point on, an interesting rift developed in the summit audience. While Mark and audience members were telling anecdotes about “kids these days” and laughing at the generational differences, Tweeters (#fvaudience) started getting annoyed by the stereotyping, and the patronisation of “dot com kids” – the very audience that the industry is trying to “arrest”. I think @GaryPHayes highlighted the issue best when he tweeted:

‘seeing other generations as very different not a good stance, look for behavioral, psychographic common ground’.

3. ?

4. New lifestages
child > adult
child > teenager > adult
child > tween > teen > kippers > adults

While I contained my distaste at the term “kippers” (kids in parents’ pockets eroding retirement savings, approx. 20-24 year olds), Mark emphasised the time poor, sophisticated, and demanding nature of today’s audience (a “narrow bandwidth of interest”), and the Twitter debate continued.

5. Influences
Summit attendees were surveyed prior to Arresting Audiences. Turns out that within the industry itself – for every person who thinks the industry is healthy, three say it needs work.
So, according to these results, the industry itself thinks it needs innovation and change. And, according to McCrindle Research, the audience wants user-created content, social validation, and the fulfilment of short-term needs. Apparently the solution is not necessarily changing what you say, but how you say it. Because this is a…

6. Post-structural
…world full of young post-structural people with the attention span of- oh look! Something shiny!

In seriousness, Mark did demonstrate the importance of products evolving to meet changing audience needs with examples such as the recent questioning of the relevance of printing the Oxford English Dictionary, given its success in online publication.

7. Post-rational
Mark identified four types of post-rational relationships:
By engaging with your audience in both a cognitive and emotive manner, they will fully embrace your product. Or, as 10 Things I Hate About You puts it:

Bianca: There’s a difference between like and love. I mean I like my Skechers, but I love my Prada backpack.
Chastity: But I love my Skechers.
Bianca: That’s because you don’t have a Prada backpack.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: