A target audience is a well defined and very specific group of people who would be the best possible set of viewers for your show or film. The groups of which to choose from are defined by several different factors. The first of which is age. You wouldn’t show a horror to a child nor would you probably show a ‘street’, rap type film to slightly elder people. So it is very important to get your age range spot on. Once someone is the age of 18, they can watch any type of film, but that doesn’t mean that by the time that they are 50 or so they will be watching the same type of films that they were when they were 18, so you also have to know what the limit is on your target audience. Another key factor, which is more common for TV shows is time. What time will your TV show be aired and broadcast on TV? This plays heavily into the age range. If you are broadcasting a show which ticks several of these boxes (these are the gaming equivalent)…
…then you will probably have a later broadcast time. If you are screening something like ‘Game of Thrones’ then you will definitely have a later airing time as the show will contain things like violence, bad language and sex.
However if you are releasing a game such as ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ which contains basically all of the age warning boxes above or ‘Call of Duty’ then it is a bit more difficult because people can play games at any time, so the target audience is kind of made up based on the age rating that is given to it. Grand Theft Auto V is a very adult game and contains a whole host of things to do, but I wouldn’t imagine people of the age of late 30’s + playing it. It is very important to know who your target audience is because from a financial perspective, a company can lose a lot of money if they cater a film to the wrong people, or broadcast a show at the wrong time or day. Often the big shows such as ‘Game of Thrones’ are broadcast on a Sunday evening because it is the weekend and people often want to watch something before they go to bed. Equally from a morale point of view, you can also get into a lot of trouble if you show graphic or sexual content outside of the watershed time. The term watershed is used to describe the time that is best for the more adult shows to air on TV, because they may contain content that is unsuitable for children.
I spoke earlier about how people who are slightly older than the 18 – early 30’s demographic may not want to watch shows such as ‘Game of Thrones’ because the content isn’t aimed at them, but it is staggering when you look at something like ‘The Walking Dead’ which has a huge 18 – 49 demographic. The word demographic means a particular sector of a population. So the key sector of the population for AMC and ‘The Walking Dead’ is the 18 – 49 section.
‘Overall for the season, “The Walking Dead” grew 9 percent over Season 4 in the key demo, with all 16 episodes landing in the Top 20 entertainment telecasts in the demo’
‘Season 5 averaged 14.4 million total viewers, with 9.4 million viewers in the demo’
One way in which producers can find out who their target audience is is by conducting psychographic research. Psychographics are statistics and market research that defines groups of the population by psychological variables.