How do media texts appeal to a target audience?

Some media texts aim to attract a broad audience, like Radio Times, while others are for niche audiences with a specific interest, such as the BBC Gardeners World magazine or Classic Land Rover.

When a media text targets a small very specific audience it is narrow casting.

When a media producer has established a target audience for their media text they use certain methods to appeal to this group.

These methods include:

Technical and Audio Codes

  • A movie trailer for an action-adventure film will have fast editing and a stirring music track which builds excitement. It will often be shown before a film from a similar genre so that the appropriate audience is targeted.
  • The bright colours and varied fonts that feature on lifestyle magazine front covers make them eye-catching and more appealing to buy.
  • The range of camera angles, shots and movement used in a TV programme or film all help to make it more interesting to watch.

Language

  • Hospital dramas use medical language to make the action and dialogue feel more realistic.
  • Computer gaming magazines use a subject-specific lexis featuring gaming words like ‘boss’ (highest level of enemy), ‘Twinking’ (helping out a less advanced player) or ‘nerf’ (when an update reduces the power of a certain weapon or character) that will appeal to their gamer audience but may not be understood by people who aren’t gamers.

Mode of Address

  • Some magazines like gossip or chat magazines will use an informal mode of address, which appeals to their target readership and suits the content of the magazines.
  • Newspapers and television news programmes use a formal mode of address, which suits the serious nature of the content and is what their audience would expect.

Construction

  • A moving image text can use enigma codes, star actors, or multi-stranded narratives to help it appeal to its target audience.
  • A print text layout and design will attract its audience with sell lines, cover lines and an eyecatching cover image.

An infographic explaining how magazine elements attract an audience

Magazine front cover elements

Context

  • Placing an advertisement for beer in a half time advert break during a live football game is likely to attract the target audience of adult males.
  • Placing a film trailer for a romantic comedy in an advert break during another romantic comedy being broadcast on TV will mean that it is likely to be seen by the film's target audience.