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Beyond Ratings or Quality. Surpassing the Dilemma of Entertainment in Public Broadcasting
Unformatted Document Text:  9 ratings. After all, unless we adopt a strictly elitist view of quality (linked up with high culture), a relevant and major standard for pluralist, quality programming is that viewers really enjoy watching a certain program. To express the diversity of and disagreement about aesthetic standards and values, the notion of ‘aesthetic pluralism’, coined by Herbert Gans (1999), is particularly useful. Those who enjoy a certain program are part of what I would like to call, again inspired by Gans (1999), a ‘taste community’. 7 This does not automatically imply that program makers and audience must belong to the same taste community in order to give them real pleasure. It is not important that makers love their program; it is important, though, that makers ‘love’ their audience. As one of our interviewees, an independent producer, told us: Colonel Parker, the manager of Elvis Presley, always said to him that during a performance he should not ‘look for his kid, but at the audience’. When Elvis Presley did a show, he always looked a lot at the audience. I have started doing it myself as well. What do they like about a program, or what do they not like about it? Are they having a good time? Which joke makes them laugh and which doesn’t? This requires an huge interest in the audience. This love is crucial to me. This three-dimensional audience-orientedness can be schematically depicted as follows: Table 1. Three ways of understanding audience-orientedness Who is your audience? CITIZEN ‘ENJOYER’ CONSUMER advertiser What do you focus on? ♦ Address them as socially committed ♦ Making your audience aware ♦ Serving taste communities ♦ Caring for your audience ♦ Pleasing advertisers ♦ Creating markets (shoppers 19-49, youths) How do you recognize program quality? ♦ Greater social / democratic involvement with the audience ♦ Fans and genre buffs enjoy the program ♦ Program is popular with the targeted viewer group What do you want to give to your audience? ♦ Community feeling: sense of belonging to specific (national, regional, cultural) identity ♦ Educating & informing audience ♦ Rendering visible democratic culture ♦ Visual pleasure ♦ Enthrall your audience ♦ Call on viewers’ sense of playfulness ♦ Imagining a better world and a better humanity ♦ Consumerism ♦ Conviction that one can fulfill one’s needs by buying goods © ASCoR icm 4-7-02

Authors: Meijer, Irene.
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ratings. After all, unless we adopt a strictly elitist view of quality (linked up with high
culture), a relevant and major standard for pluralist, quality programming is that
viewers really enjoy watching a certain program. To express the diversity of and
disagreement about aesthetic standards and values, the notion of ‘aesthetic
pluralism’, coined by Herbert Gans (1999), is particularly useful. Those who enjoy a
certain program are part of what I would like to call, again inspired by Gans (1999), a
‘taste community’.
7
This does not automatically imply that program makers and
audience must belong to the same taste community in order to give them real
pleasure. It is not important that makers love their program; it is important, though,
that makers ‘love’ their audience. As one of our interviewees, an independent
producer, told us:
Colonel Parker, the manager of Elvis Presley, always said to him
that during a performance he should not ‘look for his kid, but at the
audience’. When Elvis Presley did a show, he always looked a lot at
the audience. I have started doing it myself as well. What do they
like about a program, or what do they not like about it? Are they
having a good time? Which joke makes them laugh and which
doesn’t? This requires an huge interest in the audience. This love is
crucial to me.
This three-dimensional audience-orientedness can be schematically depicted as
follows:
Table 1. Three ways of understanding audience-orientedness
Who is your audience?
CITIZEN
‘ENJOYER’
CONSUMER
advertiser
What do you focus on?
Address them as
socially committed
Making your
audience aware
Serving taste
communities
Caring for your
audience
Pleasing advertisers
Creating markets
(shoppers 19-49,
youths)
How do you recognize
program quality?
Greater social /
democratic
involvement with the
audience
Fans and genre
buffs enjoy the
program
Program is popular
with the targeted
viewer group
What do you want to
give to your audience?
Community feeling:
sense of belonging to
specific (national,
regional, cultural)
identity
Educating &
informing audience
Rendering visible
democratic culture
Visual pleasure
Enthrall your
audience
Call on viewers’
sense of playfulness
Imagining a better
world and a better
humanity
Consumerism
Conviction that one
can fulfill one’s needs
by buying goods
© ASCoR icm 4-7-02


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