Consumption & Reception

The Audience Conception & Reception refers to the following;

• Previous readings of the text (Trailers, Sequels)
• Audience physical context
• Audience emotional engagement
• Reception at the time of the text release or later
• Audience expectations and possibilities
• How audiences are influenced by the element
• How audiences read (understand) and engaged by fictional narratives

Receiving a text

There are generally two ways of understanding the term ‘receiving a text’. The first way suggests that the way you physically receive the text, in other words where you are, the conditions under which you are watching etc, will impact upon how you understand and engage with that text. For example, most students will watch a film in Media in a classroom on hard chairs, with a bell interrupting them at some point. This is quite a different experience to watching it in an climate controlled cinema with plush seating and no interruptions. This also goes for watching a film on your iPad or laptop. Films just aren’t made for that type of viewing.

The second way to explain it is a bit more complex. It suggests that audiences will understand a text based on not only the physical reception, but also on a cultural and social level. So that means that depending on your culture, the society you live in, your understanding of codes and conventions (which are culturally based) and other socializing factors, can determine the level on which you engage with the text. A good example of this is watching a Bollywood film. Unless you understand the highly complex codes and conventions of a Bollywood feature, most of the narrative will be lost on you.

Audiences consume narrative texts by watching them. That’s pretty easy to understand. But the next question is how do they receive them? Ideally, an audience would view (or consume) a text in a darkened cinema, with surround sound and a comfortable chair. This is how we are meant to watch a film, or at least how the director and producer of the film would like you to see it. Many of their cinematic and artistic decisions about what shots to use or where to position the camera would have been based on the end product being screened in a cinema with an amazing sound system and a huge widescreen.

• The relationships between a text, its audiences, its consumption and reception, including how audiences read and are engaged by fictional narratives

In summary, understanding this dot point requires you to think laterally, not just literally. All four of those components – text, audiences, consumption and reception – are interconnected and circular. On top of that is the concept of reading a text and being engaged by it. Much of this you already know because you already do it and have been ‘reading, consuming and receiving’ texts pretty much your whole life. But when you study our two texts in class, you have to be conscious of this additional layer on top as it determines how you approach responding to the texts.

Copyright -Melinda Roberts-

Potential Exam & SAC Question on Audience

Q1. (3 marks)
Describe the relationship between audience engagement and the construction of media narratives.

All media products are designed and created with an audience in mind. The creators of the media product understand the demographics of their audience and how they can impact them using the appropriate media code and conventions when creating their narrative. Thorough research goes into the audience before the media product is created and circulated in society. The creators take the following into account;
• Previous readings of the media product
• Audience physical context
• Audience emotional engagement
• Reception at the time of the media products’ release
• Audience expectations and possibilities
• How audiences are influenced by the conventions
• How audiences read (understand) and engaged by fictional narratives.
Media narratives are interpreted by audiences in a variety of ways, therefore it is important for the creators to consider these dot points in the Development, Pre Production and Post Production phases.