BCM212 Focus Group Summary and Findings

Hello again!

This is just a brief summary check in and display the results and unique findings of my recent focus group and some of the interesting, noteworthy things which were discussed.

If you are new to my blog or research, hello, my name is Kris, and I am undergoing research in relation to audience share of reality television amongst university students. My main goals and aims of this research is to identify if individuals resonate with reality television due to its fictional or non-fictional attributes and how this correlates to ratings, engagement, etc.

Acknowledgement

Thank you to all the individuals who participated in my focus group and engaged in my research. Your ideas, values and voices will be a great addition to my research as well as my final conclusion and findings. Thank you again for participating in my research.

Focus Group Findings

  • Although people enjoyed watching television in a shared space such as a living room, they watch shows which they enjoyed more on their laptops. This allowed for:
    • Private watching of television shows on laptops, which is more intimate.
    • No ‘fighting over the remote’.
    • No advertisements.
    • Watching Netflix on a laptop is the most popular form of consuming content in this group of individuals.
  • There was repetition of the word ‘Warped Reality’ which is in relation to the structure and production behind reality television. Participants noted that even though the concept and individuals who are in these shows may be real, we are only seeing snippets of what the producers want to show.
    • Participants also agreed towards the notion of reality television having a form of particular editing or ‘smart editing’. What is interesting is that they are aware of this editing however still seem to be engaged and enjoy reality programs.
  • Television is a powerful force which can have influence on an individuals public profile, so much so that they can become a celebrity extremely quickly (viral).
    • The Kardashians were used as an example for this.
    • The notion of some peoples whole career being based on this style and genre of television was also discussed. Individuals could have a career in reality television for the rest of their lives.
  • The struggle behind a person going on television for a genuine reason or just because they wanted to be famous was another point of discussion.
    • Participants agree that there are arguments for both sides, as some people go onto reality television for genuine reasons. However, there were comments such as:
      • “Nobody really wants to go on those relationship shows to find love. Like really?” – Anonymous Participant.
      • “Some people really are passionate about cooking and are good cooks.” – Anonymous Participant.
      • “You just can’t tell one-hundred percent if someone is being genuine or not because of how reality television is produced.” – Anonymous Participant.

In this focus group, I showed a few clips to my participants, I will link them with the responses and results.

  • The Shire – The trailer of the show.
    • At lot of participants were uninterested in this clip and proceeded to look at their phones throughout the clip. Signs of boredom and a few cringes. Some looked confused at the show.
    • Not a lot of people saw this show on its air dates.
    • Was referred to as a ‘cheesy drama’ which connotes the heavily recycled plot devices and material which adds to its scripted and fabricated nature.
    • Participants said they would only watch this show to laugh or to have something ‘mind-numbing’ on in the background.
    • The overall consensus was that this show was not reality and participants could tell.
  • The Real Housewives of Sydney – A few fights and dramatised scenes of the show.
    • A few have seen this program before, however were slightly hesitant to admit this.
    • Participants were heavily engaged in this clip immediately. People were looking each other, giggling and laughing.
    • As the program became more serious, the participants still were engaged showing the retention of this program in regards to viewers.
    • The question of “Is this how grown women behave” was asked to participants. These were their answers:
      • “it is their reality, however it is not so much a normal persons reality” this would then refer to a closed environment which this program is taking place. – Anonymous Participant
      • “I don’t think this happens for most people.” – Anonymous Participant
      • Another participant said that the dinners and gatherings that they have could have been civilised to begin with. However, with producer manipulation through alcohol consumption and ‘smart editing’ a new more entertaining narrative could be created.
      • “You can tell their kind of putting it on.” – Anonymous Participant
      • “Nobody turns to the camera after a conversation in real life.” – Anonymous Participant
    • The overall consensus of this show was that it could be an individuals reality, however is not the wider community or majority of societies reality as it is so far fetched.
  • Survivor US – A scene from the show which has sparked controversy in the LGBT Community. Has a transgender contestant being ousted by another one.
    • One or two people have seen this television show before and are not shy to admit that they have which is interesting when comparing it to the RHOS reaction to having seen it.
    • Everyone is engaged in the specific scene. It is quite emotional, some participants gasp and put their hands over their mouth in shock. People are displaying some uncomfortable body language as to reject the idea of this happening to them.
    • Participants identify that this scene could have been edited out if it was too controversial, but the assumption that the network wanted to show this for ratings was discussed as the reason why this was shown.
    • “It’s really sad.” – Anonymous Participant.
    • Murky waters – the consensus was that this clip was unscripted, quite raw and real. To tell for certain though is difficult as the way the situation has been produced may have lead to the fabrication and loss of reality of this scene.
  • From this clip and television show, the question was asked “Does reality television spark discussion in our public spheres.”
    • A lot of participants nodded obviously being affected by the last clip.
    • Agreed that this could be an accurate representation of someone’s life and experiences that could occur in an individuals life.
    • Obviously does spark discussion which was agreed from all participants.
  • Another discussion which was had was, “Will reality television transcend time?”
    • “I hate it, but I love to watch it.” – Anonymous Participant.
    • Most participants agreed that reality television (as a legacy media channel) would survive just as newspapers and journalists would.
    • “There is something really entertaining about it.” – Anonymous Participant.
    • Australia’s market is majorly reality television and is orientated in this way to suit its audience. Therefore reality television can be seen as quite popular amongst Australian’s in general.
    • YouTube was also spoken about as a reality channel through the videos referred to as ‘VLOGS’ or video logs which follow an individuals life through a camera. They are ‘unfiltered’ and ‘unscripted’ content which doesn’t have a production team behind it. It has an ‘amateur authenticity’ to it which some participants resonate with a lot.
      • Through consuming this content, audiences have become aware of production trickery in reality television and have become more savvy around television.
      • Therefore YouTube has influenced the way individuals consume content such as reality television. The accessibility of YouTube allows for this influence.
    • Social media has a lot to do with participants interaction with reality television, such as live tweeting.

Overall conclusion

  • The word ‘really’ was used an extensive amount by participants.
  • Reality television is a constructed, produced form of content which is made professionally for a reason.
  • Even if a reality television show is not reality, it can still be extremely engaging if the content in it is entertaining.

That’s a lot of information but that’s what my focus group gave me! Thank you to all the participants which helped in this process.

~krisesandchrosses~

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