I shall confess that thus far my perspective of ‘the audience’ has been critical. Originally, I had maintained this concept of a ‘homogenized audience’. It primarily followed the idea of commodification and convergence of the media which for me, was due to the formation of new and updated technologies. My previous blog post ‘American Homogenization and Media Convergence’ outlined this perspective on a basic level. As I read Nick Couldry’s chapter I must admit that it has challenged me to think beyond this, as I will describe later in this blog post. Furthermore reading this chapter, I identified my original perspective with Nicholas Abercrombie and Brian Longhurst’s arguement. Other than Nick Couldry’s ‘Extended Audience’ chapter which challenged the traditional notions of audience reception studies, an interview that I was listening to on ABC Classic this morning between 10am-11am with Margret Throsby and Hossein Valamanesh as guest provided me with a complete different ideology on audiences and ‘publics’.
As I was sitting on the bus on the way to university, I listened to this particular interview with Hossein Valamanesh, on the play ‘When the Rain Stops Falling.’ Listening to this broadcast, I travelled to many places of the Middle East in terms of the music. I relaxed to chill out sounds and learnt quite a lot about the world around me. However, I awoke from my imagination through a quote by Hossein Valamanesh, which made me think, and also shattered my original idea on audiences. In order to gain a better understanding of this quote I re-listened to the broadcast via abc.net.au/classic/throsby/default.htm#listen, and I have provided a short quote below.
Margret Throsby (host) states in the interview- “(I think it’s save to assume that) Today’s audiences are more sophisticated in the way they accept a story being told to them, because of film. Because we’ve seen stories told in non-linear ways on film.” Hossein Valamanesh– “(I think) We at times underestimate public intellect.”
From these quotes I have come to learn that the media is part of our daily lives, however rather than it being passive (underestimating the public); we actually do think about the media in various ways and forms, and with the advent of new technologies we are able to personalise and choose what we like whether it is to hear, watch or read, and even take part in. RSS feeds, and YouTube are amongst this growing trend. In addition, Couldry argues in his article that, “as audiences become more ‘media literate’ the idea of what it might be like to be a performer on television is more wide-spread than it once was.”
Nick Couldry’s article on the Extended Audience challenges and makes the reader question previous studies of audience reception; through examples that include advertisements, mobile media (such as the webcam) and the DotComGuy. These examples show how the audience has changed. For instance, through the advertisement he draws on the concept that it could be seen as a way of media performance. This is argued in Abercrombie/Longhurst’s argument on the ‘diffused audience’. Where we have been so very accustomed to the media, and reality TV shows that the concept of having an audience is diminishing. Alternatively, he argues that the advertisement can be seen as being part of what maybe called a ‘traditional media process,’ or even better what he argues (throughout the article) as an ‘extended audience’ and thus having an intended audience.
The concept of an extended audience refers to a further understanding of spatiality. A good example in the article is based on the notion of ‘fandom.’ The article describes DisneyWorld as available for a consumer to visit and be a part of. Overall, his article challenges the notions of reception studies with the interaction of the audience and consumer, especially with the idea of a ‘diffused audience’ that is based on the concept of the media immersing everyday lives through a plethora of mediums.
Couldry, Nick “The Extended Audience: Scanning the Horizon” In Gillespie, Marie Ed. Media Audiences. Berkshire: Open University Press, 2005 184-196 and 210-220.
Interview- 11th May 2009, “Mornings with Margret Throsby”- 10:05-11am with Hossein Valamanesh http://www.abc.net.au/classic/throsby/default.htm#listen accessed 11th May 2009.