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BBC researcher passes on knowledge to media students

Posted: 22 November 2021

Discovering what audiences want to watch on television was the matter in hand for media students at West Nottinghamshire College – and they got an expert researcher to help them.

James' research helps to determine what audiences want to see on television
James' research helps to determine what audiences want to see on television

BBC senior research executive James Coatsworth joined students on Microsoft Teams to pass on his experience and knowledge of qualitative and quantitative research, which he uses within his role.

Advanced Creative Media Practice (Film and Television Production) students joined James online to discover more about this type of research to aid their audience research project.

James explained how he uses quantitative research to survey people in large numbers, whereas qualitative research focuses on surveying fewer people but seeking more detail and depth.

He highlighted that audience research is done for all long-standing television shows. This is to constantly make it a good product so that people will buy into it and watch the shows.

He explained that it’s important to work out who your audience is, how old they are and what people are interested in watching. Details such as how to obtain people’s views was discussed, whether it’s face-to-face or online.

James also advised students on how to ask the research questions and talk to the audience as this has an impact on how they answer.

The students spoke with James about the various types of media other than television, such as You Tube and Tik Tok as well as how different media companies share their insights and data about audience uptake.

Media tutor Michael Rhodes said: “For our students to be able to access an industry practitioner and seek his advice and guidance, this will go a long way to making sure that their work mirrors that of the industry which they’re hoping to work within in the future"

Student Esther Williams, 17, said: “I thought it was really informative in relation to the course. It has really helped me to grasp what audience research is, and how it has an impact on what we see on the television.”

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