This class has taught me so much about media and culture in society and how interconnected these three areas can be. Sometimes being in the demographic for certain things doesn’t allow you to think about your surroundings clearly because you never have to; this class has been a great tool in analyzing and dissecting different concepts having to do with media and culture today.
One particular topic I enjoyed discussing in this module was narrowcasting. I think narrowcasting is a dream come true for individuals working in communications or public relations trying to market their messages. Having everything and everyone digitally available allows for these communications/pr people to reach citizens individually rather than projecting one big message which people often choose to ignore.
Just at the top of my head a great example of narrowcasting can be seen by YouTube. Every time I sign in with my Gmail ID and log into YouTube, YouTube will string videos that will cater to my liking. My YouTube account will recommend material for me that I will enjoy, and 4/5 times I will click on the link to watch the video (which means the method to their marketing is working)!
Narrowcasting is a great way to reach consumers because it is a specialized form of content marketing that targets specific audiences so that the messaging resonates more deeply with the audience (Albom, 2008). When you target specific audiences and get attention, you also get the attention of their friends, and peers. A YouTube video stated that 90% of people trust peer recommendations, whereas only 14% of people trust advertisements (Social Media Revolution, 2011). When narrowcasting is used to market messages or materials consumers feel dependant on the organization because organizations ‘know’ what they want. Empire Theatres, like YouTube is another name that highlights content marketing. The film distributors for Empire Theatres line their trailers up before movies to ensure they are targeting the right demographics for their upcoming films. For example, if you are heading in to watch a chick flick chances are the trailers before your chick flick will be light hearted, romantic, and comedic as opposed to horrific and dark. I have caught myself many times just watching the trailers and repeating “Oh, I want to see that, Oh I want to see that one too!” for every trailer in that specific movie.
In the end narrowcasting helps marketers get rid of content spillage. Money that used to be spent reaching a broad audience is now better spent communicating more frequently with a narrow target audience. You have the opportunity to really “engage with the right group of people” (Albom, 2008).
I know being a consumer; I tend to go for products or even television shows that come across my attention casually and not through big, bold ads. As the Bazalgette (2009) article states one phenomenon undermining public service media is the way people can ‘make and distribute their own content’ (p. 38). This article highlighted three key components that broadcasters had decades ago that individuals did not have and this was money, expertise, and spectrum. The latter two of these is available now to anyone who possesses a computer or mobile device. How can we go from broad to narrow? This could mean using second screening by letting people interact as experts in their own field like we see a lot today (Class Notes, 2013). The internet also aids in educating individuals in society in a variety of areas. Our feelings now towards things we cannot attain or unhappy with result in creating them ourselves with our resources, or complaining about them. The audiences are now tweeting about the awe factor in reality TV through second screens, and choosing the ending they want for their favorite television shows (Miller, 2013). I think narrowcasting is so popular because organizations like to pick up interests and just roll them out to perspective audiences to see what they can reel in, and build on. Without wasting much money on publicity organizations can use trial and error on different ideas through consumer responses.
Narrowcasting is very helpful to people who live in a generalized demographic, but how about those people who are still interested in certain products and materials who are left out? Why should they be excluded? For example, I have lived in Halifax, N.S my whole life and I have just started hearing about Nocturne (Art at Night) in the last 2-3 years. How did this get passed me? Why haven’t I seen ads anywhere? Perhaps it was due to narrowcasting. I am not very artsy, nor do I understand some of the jargon, but this does not mean I couldn’t foster an interest in this field – I have never been exposed to it. I feel narrowcasting is built of generalizations of demographic, behaviour, and context but are we selling our products and material short if we are not getting them to a variety of audiences (Mandese, 2011).
The traditional method of broadcasting can attract mass audiences (Bazalgette, 2009), but the charm in narrowcasting rests on the fact that audiences can be focused in on, and targeted using online methods which saves more money. Broadcasting means investing a lot of money to produce a little amount of content for a large number of people, while narrowcasting means investing little money to produce a lot of content to a few people who then put the word forward (Mandese, 2011). What would you choose? Can we keep both methods? Do we have a say in the matter?
Albom, M. (2008). Narrowcasting: The future of content marketing. Website retrieved from
Bazalgette, P. (2009). Public service narrowcasting. Prospect Issue 155: 38-40.
Retrieved from Prospect Magazine (through library database system).
Mandese, J. (2011). You know broadcasting, now learn narrowcasting. Ignition Consulting
Group. Website retrieved from: http://www.ignitiongroup.com/cognition/guides/you-
Miller, S. (2013). Hey, Twitter, Hawaii Five-o wants you to pick the killer. Website retrieved
Social Media Revolution. (2011). Website retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/ watch ?