There are a number of purposes to why market research is a necessity to create a successful product. One of which is the need for companies to understand exactly what their target audience is looking for in a product. This is seen as being essential for any company releasing a new product as this allows the company to create a suited product, based on their majority target audience, thus allowing the product to potentially become successful. Furthermore, market research can also help companies identify any future trends that may show up in the next few years. This can also be very beneficial for companies as this allows them to potentially gain a competitive edge over their rivals, which may be creating similar products to themselves. In addition, this can also help set the company and the product they are producing in a very strong position with their target audience as they are more likely to stick with a product which is different to anything else seen before and also any products which may be very similar to the original product. This was shown, for example, with the rise of the reality TV show ‘The only was is Essex’. After the reality TV hit show ‘Big Brother’ was cancelled on Channel 4 in 2010, a new breed of reality TV was needed. ITV started to take notice of this and began market research into shows such as ‘The Hills’ and ‘The City’, which were Americas reality TV shows. ITV soon discovered that these types of structured reality TV shows were extremely popular in America and believed that a similar show for the UK would be a success. Indeed it was, as ‘The Only Way is Essex’ started to gain huge media attention due to the popularity with young adults after starting in October 2010. Due to this success, other UK production companies started coming up with their own version of TOWIE such as ‘Made in Chelsea’, ‘Jersey Shore’ and ‘The Valleys’. However, TOWIE still remains the most popular scripted reality show in the UK as fans of the show continue to watch in their numbers despite alternate versions of the show.
There are a number of methods to conduct market research. One of these methods is the use of surveys. These can be taken part in many different ways such as in-person surveys, telephone surveys, online surveys and web surveys. These different ways can help benefit a company as this allows them to analyze a sample group of people based on their target audience. Secondly, another method of collecting market research is by conducting focus groups of the companies major target audience. In these focus groups, a series of questions and topics are given to the focus group to discuss, in which they are being recorded by. These types of sessions usually take a couple of hours with a number of focus groups needed to take place in order for the results, of the focus group, to be balanced. Another method of gaining market research is personal interviews. The structure of personal interviews are very similar to focus groups in which they are also recorded and usually last around a couple of hours. This allows companies to gain a more detailed insight into their target audience for their product compared to in-person surveys, which may only take around a couple of minutes to complete. A different way of collecting market research takes the form of observations. Completely different to the previous methods mentioned about collecting market research, observations allow companies to observe their target audiences natural behavior towards how they react to similar products, that a company is trying to produce, and any advertising campaigns that attempt to sell box office tickets or improve DVD sales of these similar products.
The purpose of audience research is to help companies discover what target audience would be best suitable for the type of product that they are producing such as age, gender, ethnic background, location, income and what media do they already consume. This is extremely vital to any company trying to create a successful product as targeting a product at the wrong type of audience can cause problems throughout any research which is conducted, the production of the product and how this may be advertised thus causing the product to not be as successful as first hoped by the company, which can also lead to the cancellation of any future products related to the original and a slightly damaged reputation to the company who produced the product.
When trying to discover their major target audience, a company can use a number of methods using qualitative and quantitative research to discover whom they should be aiming their product at. Quantitative involves using data and numbers such as program ratings, box office sales, hits on websites and dvd sales to see how successful other products have been, which are similar to the product a company is producing. Qualitative research, on the other hand, involves the company discovering their target audiences opinions and views on similar products and how they react to this. This usually takes the form of reviews, websites, newspapers, blogs and fanzine sites. As well as this, a mix of primary and secondary research can be used to also help indentify a target audience for a companies product which can include questionnaires, statistics, focus groups and newspapers.
The purpose of production research is to help companies to decide on a number of factors that will affect how they create their product. One of the factors that the company will have to research is how it would be best to show their product to their specific target audience. This is very important as the product must be shown in the correct way that their target audience will mostly use, whether this is broadcasting the product, showing the product on the web or showing it on a podcast.
Other factors that will need to be taken into consideration will be; the cast and crew, as this will majorly impact on the success of the product, location, where appropriate locations will need to be discovered and if filming will be allowed to take place there, finance, where the budget will need to be carefully assessed and given out accordingly into different areas to stay in budget, suppliers, which the production company will need to source out to find companies who would be willing to invest in their product, facilities, taking into account the filming and editing equipment and the content needed to create the product.