Audiences are vital to the success of a screen project, but they can be elusive.
There's a growing emphasis in the screen industry on producing content and formats that attract audiences and match changing viewer behaviours and preferences. There has also been increasing discussion within the industry over the past few years about audience - who they are, what do they look like, what do they want, and how do you capture them?
As audience engagement is a long-term priority for us, we looked at how we can 'value-add' to the funding programs on offer - particularly in the strategic areas of content and audience ...
The result: We convened Australia's first ever summit for Victorian screen practitioners on identifying and engaging screen audiences. Arresting Audiences, was a two day summit for producers, screenwriters, directors and script editors, that explored the importance of connecting with audiences, and how to best use that connection to make great content. The event was developed from stakeholder input, industry analysis, and the contribution of staff and board members at planning days, in identifying critical themes that we need to focus on to support the screen sector.
We invited a selection of international and national practitioners to speak at the summit for sessions on demographics, marketing and advertising, audience testing, genre, online content and the future of audiences, among other topics. We also commissioned our own research to ensure attendees received up-to-the-minute, relevant and tailored data on audience perceptions, and gathered additional research from around the world to shape and inform the summit program.
Held in Melbourne on 23 and 24 September 2010, the summit presented the 'big picture' about audience. Arresting Audiences gave screen practitioners a wealth of knowledge, experience and research into audience. Attendees engaged with experts, received up-to-the-minute research on screen audiences, as well as practical advice, take-home tools and resources.
The event was a huge success, if we do say so, with more than 20 speakers over 10 sessions, and more than 200 attendees converging on the Rendezvous Hotel for two days of information, insight and groundbreaking research about audiences. As promised we've put some great audience-focused stuff online, including our research, case studies and a glossary on social media and interactive TV. And there's more to come, including clips from the summit itself.
Here's the program we delivered:
Day 1 - Thursday 23 September
|8.45 - 9.00am||Registration|
|9.00 - 9.15am||Welcome to Arresting Audiences
Alan Finney (MC) and Sandra Sdraulig (Film Victoria CEO)
|9.15 - 10.30am||
Who Do You Think They Are?
To know them is to love them. This plenary session offers a sneak peak into the private lives, behaviours and habits of Australian audiences, and a snapshot of the current audience landscape.
Mark McCrindle (McCrindle Research)
|10.30 - 11.00am||Morning Tea|
|11.00 - 11.45am||
Identifying Your Audience
Your project can't be everything to everyone. Identifying your target audience from the get-go, and keeping them in mind during all stages of production, will make it easier to get their attention when your project is ready.
Dan Gregory (SMART advertising agency and THE GRUEN TRANSFER)
|11.45am - 12.30pm||
Audience Testing in Australia
Audience testing has been available for some time in Australia, yet few producers use it. Why not? And why would they? Hear from those who recommend it, and those who've gone where some fear to tread.
John Berenyi (Bergent Research), David Castran (ADA TV), Ewan Burnett (Burberry Entertainment) and Robyn Kershaw (RK Productions)
|12.30 - 1.30pm||Lunch|
|1.30 - 3.00pm||
Genre can be just another way of telling stories. But word on the street is that Australian filmmakers don't make genre films because Australian audiences don't like them. Do the facts back this up? What does genre really mean? And should we be making more?
Robert Jones (Jonescompany Productions), Diramid Scrimshaw (WARP Films UK) and Michael Favelle (Odin's Eye)
|3.00 - 3.30pm||Afternoon Tea|
|3.30 - 4.45pm||
Capturing Your Audience
Keynote address to be delivered by acclaimed US writer/producer Jane Espenson.
Jane Espenson (Writer/Producer - BUFFY, THE OC, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, CAPRICA, THE GILMOUR GIRLS)
|5.00||Networking Event - The Vestibule, Rendezvous Hotel|
Day 2 - Friday 24 September
|9.00am - 10.00am||
Talking to Your Audience
Developing a project is a big task, but it doesn't stop there. Once you've identified your audience, how do you start a dialogue? Learn from the experts how people decide what to see and when, how to create a holistic marketing plan to engage your audience on multiple levels, and how to use social media to your advantage.
Ross Mollison (Mollison Communications) and Gary Hayes (Personalize Media)
|10.00 - 10.30am||Morning Tea|
|10.30 - 11.30am||
Back to the Bucks
How does knowing your audience impact your budget process, your slate and your business plan? Learn from those who've done it before.
Robert Connolly (Arenafilm), Robert Jones (Jonescompany Productions) and Diarmid Scrimshaw (WARP Films UK)
|11.30am - 1.00pm||
Small Screens, Big Connections
Australian audiences are among the most veracious downloaders in the world - some of it's paid for, but a lot of it isn't. It's no secret that audience viewing habits are changing, and their demands are growing. So how do you use these platforms to capture your audience? US marketing guru Winter Mead will provide an exclusive case study on the phenomenal Glee Superfan experience and social media expert Gary Hayes will showcase some Australian examples of successful social media campaigns.
Winter Mead (Coincident TV US), Gary Hayes (Personalize Media)
|1.00pm - 2.00pm||Lunch|
|2.00pm - 3.30pm||
Cops, Prostitutes and Vampires
Vampires are so hot right now. Cops have been popular for a while. And prostitutes have emerged from the shadows to become part of the mainstream. Like cinema, TV programming can experience trends - where one break-away hit precipitates a flood of similarly themed shows. How does this happen? Are audiences dictating the change, or following it? And can commissioners predict these trends?
John Holmes (Seven Network), Lisa Walsh (ABC TV) and Jane Roscoe (SBS TV)
|3.30 - 4.00pm||Afternoon Tea|
|4.00 - 4.30pm||
The Future Screen Audience
So what's next for audiences? Arresting Audiences' closing session will discuss future trends, predictions and the likely impact of technology on audience viewing habits in the next decade and beyond.
Mark McCrindle (McCrindle Research)
Beyond this, we're continuing to provide useful tools and resources on audience via this section of our website - make sure you check out the resources page regularly!