Genre, which comes from the French word for 'type', is important for both consumers and media producers. Consumers can make choices about media texts they wish to consume and media producers can create a media text for a specific audience.
If a media producer wants to gain an audience for a particular genre, then they have to understand the genre codes and conventions - and include them in the media text they are creating.
For example, a producer of a TV crime drama will likely feature police characters, crime scenes, suspects, victims and violence. Audiences will also expect certain audio codes such as tense, dramatic music.
Take a look at this trailer for the BBC crime drama Luther.
Watch and listen as it plays and note the different codes and conventions: crime scenes, moody detective, driving music, ominous voiceover, weapons, threat, mystery and investigation. These all combine to firmly establish the genre for a prospective audience.
Look for the genre codes and conventions in this trailer for BBC One's Luther
All genres contain subgenres which further define and categorise the media text. Here are some examples: