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Beyond Ratings or Quality. Surpassing the Dilemma of Entertainment in Public Broadcasting
Unformatted Document Text:  8 From two to three viewer groups In the Netherlands, managers as well as program makers from the public broadcasters tend to associate target group policies as such with commercial policies. 6 This is confusing. A more refined vocabulary about audiences offers a second way out of the dilemma. A first and logical step seems to be to distinguish a public target group policy - aimed at avoiding the exclusion of groups of viewers - from target group policies of commercial networks - aimed at the inclusion of certain commercially attractive groups. A second step is the reservation of the notion commercialization for putting profits and/or the demands of advertisers more central. Trivialization could then be defined as making programming less content-oriented and more crude and shallow. This process of specification opens up the possibility to include the notion popularization, as part of the mission of public networks that makes programming more accessible to a wider audience (cf. Costera Meijer, 2001, 2002). A third step is the unraveling of the opposition consumer – citizen. Commonly, the audience is conceptualized as consisting of either citizens or consumers (Ang, 1991; Tunstall, 1993). Syvertsen (2002) proposed to do away with the common distinction between citizens and consumers, and replace it with, for instance, a division into ten audience groups. I suggest another solution. To begin with, I would limit the term ‘citizen’ as a focal point for program makers who seek to involve viewers in social issues. From this angle, a program’s success depends on whether its audience becomes better informed or more involved in democratic culture. Moreover, I would narrow down the basic meaning of ‘consumer’ to its literary one, that of ‘potential buyer of products and services’. The consumer is the addressee when it comes for instance to the conviction that identity can be bought in a shop. In this sense of consumer, she is no relevant viewer for public broadcasters. May we then conclude that the public networks should focus on citizens only? The answer to this question is no. By stressing the core meanings of consumer and of citizen we may open up a way out of the binary consumer/citizen opposition and identify a third audience group: those who enjoy, who savor, watching a particular program or genre. This viewer group is called in Dutch ‘De Genieters’, in French ‘Les Jouisseurs’ and in German ‘Die Geniesser’. In English there is no equivalent and we have to rely upon the noun ‘enjoyer’ to indicate those viewers who get real pleasure from watching certain programs. Introducing the ‘enjoyer’ as a second legitimate focus for program makers in public broadcasting may resolve the common contradiction between quality and

Authors: Meijer, Irene.
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8
From two to three viewer groups
In the Netherlands, managers as well as program makers from the public
broadcasters tend to associate target group policies as such with commercial
policies.
6
This is confusing. A more refined vocabulary about audiences offers a
second way out of the dilemma. A first and logical step seems to be to distinguish a
public target group policy - aimed at avoiding the exclusion of groups of viewers -
from target group policies of commercial networks - aimed at the inclusion of certain
commercially attractive groups. A second step is the reservation of the notion
commercialization for putting profits and/or the demands of advertisers more central.
Trivialization could then be defined as making programming less content-oriented
and more crude and shallow. This process of specification opens up the possibility to
include the notion popularization, as part of the mission of public networks that
makes programming more accessible to a wider audience (cf. Costera Meijer, 2001,
2002).
A third step is the unraveling of the opposition consumer – citizen. Commonly,
the audience is conceptualized as consisting of either citizens or consumers (Ang,
1991; Tunstall, 1993). Syvertsen (2002) proposed to do away with the common
distinction between citizens and consumers, and replace it with, for instance, a
division into ten audience groups. I suggest another solution. To begin with, I would
limit the term ‘citizen’ as a focal point for program makers who seek to involve
viewers in social issues. From this angle, a program’s success depends on whether
its audience becomes better informed or more involved in democratic culture.
Moreover, I would narrow down the basic meaning of ‘consumer’ to its literary one,
that of ‘potential buyer of products and services’. The consumer is the addressee
when it comes for instance to the conviction that identity can be bought in a shop. In
this sense of consumer, she is no relevant viewer for public broadcasters.
May we then conclude that the public networks should focus on citizens only? The
answer to this question is no. By stressing the core meanings of consumer and of
citizen we may open up a way out of the binary consumer/citizen opposition and
identify a third audience group: those who enjoy, who savor, watching a particular
program or genre. This viewer group is called in Dutch ‘De Genieters’, in French ‘Les
Jouisseurs’ and in German ‘Die Geniesser’. In English there is no equivalent and we
have to rely upon the noun ‘enjoyer’ to indicate those viewers who get real pleasure
from watching certain programs.
Introducing the ‘enjoyer’ as a second legitimate focus for program makers in
public broadcasting may resolve the common contradiction between quality and


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