BCM212 Reality Television – Reflection on Research

Reality television is quite intriguing. The notion of ‘real’ people being put into a public sphere/arena and being stalked documentary style in their day-to-day lives (Woods, 2014, p. 198), with all their actions being recorded sounds like great television, yes?  I, myself, find reality television quite enjoyable since I believe it could be myself on one of these shows one day. The notion that ‘real‘ ‘normal‘ people like myself are on these television shows gives me an ecstasy which dramas and sitcoms do not. There is something about the reality of reality television that intrigues me. However, many individuals do not agree with these feelings towards reality television.

The depiction of reality television by audiences in modern public spheres create a somewhat ‘structured‘ pseudo-environment for reality television stars to become characters (Thompson, Stringfellow, Maclean, MacLaren, & O’Gorman, 2015, p. 479-480). This then blurs the ‘boundaries between real life and entertainment’ (Rose & Wood, 2005, p. 286). It is the notion of this fiction versus non-fiction in relation to reality television which interests me. However, being limited to inquiring to university students (a large portion being media students) would be quite one sided, in favour of the fictional side, with very limited questions and development for the research. Creating a research project on this, therefore, would be pointless. Creating research on the correlation between the type of reality television show and its resonation with fiction or non-fiction would instead be an interesting topic. Enabling the correlation between audience retention, enjoyment and support with how ‘real’ the television show is.

Realising this, and with the help of my tutor Renee, I could make a decision, critical judgement if you will, and create a new topic while still being able to identify if university students thought that this genre was filled with more fictional or non-fictional content.

Concocting this idea was not simple however. I decided I would use surveys to gain insight into the demographics of my stakeholders as well as the interactions they had with reality television such as time spent and actions which they took while watching. By doing this I gain insight into which demographics enjoy which shows, why they do and if they believe they are fictional or non-fictional. I am also accumulating insight into the audience share by having specific television shows for stakeholders to rate 1-10 in my survey. Using the survey this way I can identify the audience share among a variety of university students.

If you’d like to take this survey, you can find it here: 


Bibliography:

  • Woods, F. (2014). Classed femininity, performativity and camp in British structured reality programming. Television New Media, 15(3), 197–214. doi:10.1177/ 1527476412462246.
  • Rose, R. L., & Wood, S. L. (2005). Paradox and the consumption of authenticity through reality television. Journal of Consumer Research, 32(2), 284–296. doi:10.1086/432238.

  • Thompson, A, Stringfellow, L, Maclean, M, MacLaren, A, & O’Gorman, K 2015, ‘Puppets of necessity? Celebritisation in structured reality television’, Journal of Marketing Management, vol. 31, no. 5-6, pp. 478-501.

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