Sociology Index


Audience Segmentation

Audience refers to a group of individuals attending to a common media. They receive communication from the same source, but are not active participants and do not communicate with each other. In sociology, the terms 'audience' and 'audience studies' is used to draw attention to the way that media corporations develop audiences of readers, listeners and viewers with the business objective of selling access to this audience to advertisers. In this perspective the creation and maintenance of an audience is the prime goal of media enterprises.

Audience is defined as an individual's or a group of persons' cerebral and/or sensory and/or tactile intake/reception and/or perception of a culture product and/or products of communicative action(s).

Culture is defined as a system of communicative action(s) with several sub-systems of such communicative actions including all types of communication in all media.

Media is defined as the tools and venues of communication via which a culture product or products is/are assembled, processed, disseminated, and consumed.

The field of scholarship including market-oriented research where audience is studied is commonly designated as Audience Studies, aimed at the observation and analysis of individuals and their behavior with regard to his/her or their intake of a particular culture product(s) presented in a medium or media.

In this definition, areas of communicative action such as the readership of literature, radio audience, television viewership, music concert audience, theater audience/spectatorship, museum viewing, multimedia, the world wide web, etc., are all understood as constituting audience of communicative action(s) with/in/of media.

Audience studies is about the what, when, where, who, why, and how of a culture product or products.

The following categories of audience can be listed:

Readers as audience (printed media: book, newspaper, magazine),

Auditory audience (radio, record, tape, CD, incl. music and other forms of material),

Auditory and visual audience of performance (theater, musical, opera, concert, dance),

Visual audience (museum, gallery, exhibition, photography, display),

Mixed auditory and visual audience of media (e.g., television, film, video, music video),

New media and technology audience (world wide web, multimedia).