Desperately Seeking the Audience by Ien Ang

By Ien Ang

Thousands of individuals around the world are avid contributors of the tv viewers. but, regardless of the principal position tv occupies in modern tradition, our figuring out of its complicated and dynamic position in way of life is still strangely constrained. targeting the tv viewers, Ien Ang asks why we comprehend so little approximately its nature, and argues that our lack of information arises at once out of the biases inherent in triumphing legitimate wisdom approximately it. She units out to deconstruct the assumptions of this professional wisdom by way of exploring the territory the place it truly is often produced - the tv institutions.Ang attracts on Foucault's idea of power/knowledge to scrutinize television's determined look for the viewers, and to spot transformations and similarities within the methods of yankee advertisement tv and ecu public carrier tv to their audiences. She appears to be like rigorously at contemporary advancements within the box of scores learn, particularly the arguable advent of the `people meter' as an tool for measuring the tv viewers. by way of defining the boundaries and boundaries of those institutional methods of information creation, Ien Ang opens up new avenues for figuring out tv audiences. Her ethnographic standpoint at the tv viewers provides new insights into our tv tradition, with the viewers visible no longer as an item to be managed, yet as an lively social topic, attractive with tv in a number of cultural and inventive methods.

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But in a similar vein we can state that when people watch television, they do not spontaneously conceive of themselves as members of an institutionally-defined public. To put it differently, if it is true that consumers must be made rather than found in order to create a market, so too are the citizens that form a public not naturally there, but must be produced and invented, made and made up, by the institution itself. Both commercial and public service institutions then cannot, with their specific goals and interests in mind, stop struggling to conquer the audience, no matter whether audience members are identified as consumers or citizens.

I have only one interest. That’s whether people watch the program. ’ The television programme then is the main instrument in commercial television’s constant quest for the maximum audience. As Nick Browne (1984:178) has noted, ‘the network is basically a relay in a process of textualizing the interaction of audience and advertiser’. This process of textualizing—the process of translating the goal of maximum ratings results into concrete decisions about the programmes to be scheduled—is the core of the networks’ task: the day-to-day activities of network managers ultimately revolve around constantly finding ways of regulating this difficult and complex process along orderly and manageable lines.

This is a form of control, but a rather indirect one. It does not consist of overt coercion, of imposing explicit rules and regulations, of commanding obedience and submission, but is a matter of structuration discursively mediated by the assumptions made about which programmes are most appropriate to tie the audience to the specific institutional arrangement concerned: schematically, assumptions about ‘what the audience wants’ in the case of commercial television, and about ‘what the audience needs’ in the case of public service television.

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