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this is the essay i recently submitted for my media studies coursework and got an A for. i await your reactions and value your opinions and i hope you enjoy the read.:)

Can ITV’s ‘The Premiership’ succeed in capturing a viable commercial audience, and what difficulties has the show encountered in doing so?
The Premiership, which shows highlights for the FA Barclaycard Premiership was originally scheduled at 7:00 on a Saturday evening, traditionally a time when families watch the TV together. The premiership has a broad appeal. The sport of football attracts those from all socio-demographic groups, in particular group C downwards, but the style of the show appeals to members of the A and B socio-demographic groups. The supposedly more convenient scheduling of such a show meant that the show had to appeal to a female audience as well. Thus, ITV faced the problem pf appealing to all these different groups without alienating any of them. One of the biggest problems was trying to compete with the longstanding ‘Match of the Day’ on the BBC. ITV’s initial attempts at gaining high audience figures failed at first, but steadily picked up after some changes had been made.
ITV had won the rights for a highlights show by outbidding BBC in the summer of 2001. ITV had a huge mountain to clime in winning over the BBC audience and fulfilling the audiences expectations of what a highlights show should be like.
Scheduling the show at 7:00 on a Saturday night was a huge problem. It was at a time, which traditionally had programmes, dedicated to the female and family audience; Blind Date normally attracts about 7 million viewers per episode, while at first, The Premiership could only reach 4 million people. The very notion of replacing such a show with a novel show was a massive gamble that relied on the show’s success to achieve it, which of course it failed to do. Audiences are very habitual and create routines for themselves. Broadcasters predict trends and schedule programmes accordingly, however ITV did so without introducing elements of the programmes normally watched. To prevent alienating the audience The Premiership needed to produce a smooth transition from one to the other. The problem with appealing to a hugely female audience is that you need a female presenter for the audience to relate to. Although ITV have Gabby Logan, who presents the lunchtime football discussion show, entitled “On The Ball” on Saturday’s they’ve failed to use the presenter where it really counts. More recently she has been used to present The Premiership, which leads to the conclusion that perhaps the male section of the audience might have found it challenging for a female presenter to host a football show. Her lunchtime show, ‘On the Ball’, on Saturdays attracts a very different audience, which would explain her absence, but ITV have not met the show with their ambitions. The Premiership’s BBC predecessor “Match Of The Day” targeted a predominantly male audience. This is evident was evident when they rescheduled the show for a later time of 10:30, a time when the average football supporting man would be returning from a night out with the lads. Another factor in the show originally being scheduled so early was to put it at a more convenient time, but the show failed the fit into the Saturday night genre and the men section of the audience wasn’t interested in watching the surrounding programmes. The modern day habit of the television audience is to watch TV for several hours at a time, but for ITV to get a high male audience they need to hammock shows around The Premiership that fitted in with it. This was a fundamental flaw in the show, as to attract this audience they would have had to change a large chunk of the Saturday night schedule and tampering with such longstanding shows as Blind Date would have lost ITV popularity and possibly for something that wouldn’t have worked in the first place. In this capacity ITV’s softly, softly approach is creditable, but they were too ambitious in expecting it to work in the first place.
I opened a thread on a football website to see how the audience felt about the show and it proved extremely useful, however it cannot be regarded as entirely accurate as the users of the site might not be entirely representative of The Premiership’s audience. Nonetheless their opinions are still valid, particularly in establishing why the presenters of the show weren’t particularly popular in comparison with those on Match of the Day. The BBC used presenters with which the audience can identify. Excluding Des Lynam ITV has failed to match the presenters with the audience. The audience has problems relating to Ron Atkinson, Allie McCoist and Andy Townsend, all of whom have been branded “footballing rejects” by posters on the thread. The BBC had established players who had been highly talented in their playing career presenting the show. Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrensen had been part of the famous Liverpool side of the 1980s, while Gary Lineker and Trevor Brooking are England legends. Ally McCoist spent his career in Scottish football, which football fans and the audience consider mediocre in comparison with the English game. The audience feels that because he wasn’t as experienced in his football career as his BBC counterparts, he has less authority when analysing football. At this level you need to become a figure of authority on the subject of football, otherwise how can the viewers ever trust what you’re saying if they don’t trust your integrity.
Another one of ITV’s biggest mistakes arguably was to use Des Lynam, a former presenter of Match Of The Day to present The Premiership. It reflects unfavourably on ITV’s lack of imagination in having to hire the former main presenter from its competitor. Initially viewers accused ITV of plagiarism, but with time they have come to accept it and Des Lynam is slowly redeveloping his relationship with the audience. He is a popular figure and has a gentle quality about him, which is reassuring to the audience and this helps to appeal to viewers who are uncertain of what to make of the show. His inclusion in the show was instrumental in the original scheduling of the show at 7:00 and although not his natural role he could be seen as someone ideal for that role. Perhaps that explains why Gabby Logan isn’t on The Premiership. The historical and present social climate is such that men feel threatened by a female who knows more about football than they do. Although there have been developments made in recent years in women’s football, such as Gabby Logan pioneering in the sphere of presenters on TV, football is still a male dominated area of culture where sexism still exists and throwing a female presenter straight into the deep end on a show that already has enough obstacles in its way would just be jeopardising the success of the show further. She has proven herself at a journalism level with On The Ball and a Monday night football chat show, but The Premiership is a novel and uncharted sub-genre for ITV. Instead, Lynam is a compromise between the two audiences as he doesn’t jeopardize the success of the show in terms of the viewing male audience; a very shrewd move on ITV’s part.
ITV’s marketing tactics were designed to win their show lots of support. They have created masses of hype surrounding their show and have tried to create an image for themselves, which connotates an air of superiority. Their advertising campaign consisted of a large screen on the side of a building in a town and when they come on everything stops. They have tried to portray themselves as superior to BBC in creating an advertising campaign. Match Of The Day’s advert lacked the grandeur of The Premiership’s, mainly because they didn’t have a competitor that they were constantly getting compared to and they could base their show on its popularity and longstanding history. It was vital for the show’s survival for The Premiership make them appear bigger than Match of the Day. ITV put great emphasis on the fact that they had managed to achieve highlights show scheduled at 7:00, something that Match Of The Day had attempted to get in the past, but had failed.
There were of course several flaws in having their show at such an early time. Most notably are the problems with audience that I’ve already discussed, but also the fact that the ITV producers have only two hours to produce and edit the highlights, which ultimately meant sacrificing the quality of the show in an attempt to get high ratings. Effectively they have shot themselves in the foot as they won’t get the ratings if the quality of the actual product. Eventually the audience viewing figures averaged out at a lowly 4 million viewers a programme and ITV realised this and opted for a later slot. ITV have tried to be as professional as possible in style, where as Match Of The Day adopts a more casual approach. The problem with The Premiership however is that if their style doesn’t they’re left in an awkward position; they can either keep with the current system, keep their pride and carry on slipping down the ratings or they can admit they’re wrong and change the system before it’s too late. They decided to adopt the system that had previously been employed by Match Of The Day, scheduling the programme at 10:30 on a Saturday night and having a repeat the following morning at 9:30. This was a humiliating defeat for the Premiership, but there was no other alternative. It lost them further support from partisan viewers of Match of the Day who were critical of The Premiership from day one.
It was very brave of The Premiership producers to expect to be able to challenge such a well-established institution as Match Of The Day. Their partisan viewers have seen them as trying too hard to win over the their affection. ITV thought that because of the dedicated nature of football fans they would have watched highlights of their favourite team, regardless of which channel it was on. Not only was it a huge financial risk, but also it displaced existing programmes on ITV with a proven track record, such as Blind Date, disturbing the viewing trends of the audience. The stakes were high and ITV failed to reach them.
ITV were trying to achieve individuality by attempting to create a new style of show within the sub-genre of the highlights show, but it was difficult to do so because genre appeals to the audience, by creating codes and convention which the audience expect. If the show tries to be too original and drift away from the norm the audience feel unsure of the text. They wanted to create a friendly family atmosphere that could be scheduled at 7:00, but in truth all they created was a hybridisation of the BBC show and the satellite channel Sky Sports. They wanted to capitalise on the success and popularity of Match Of The day, hence the appointment of Des Lynam, but also wanted to take the stylish and professional approach from Sky Sports and mix that into the recipe too. Post-modernism is also involved when it comes to analysing The Premiership. In effect no text produced in the modern age of media can be entirely original as it is always influenced by texts produced before it. The Premiership was trying to be too post-modern, but in doing so alienated the audience, because it didn’t feel reassured by the text, which asked some traditional aspects of the genre. However, in it’s defence it combined its new innovations with the inclusion of traditional aspects such as Des Lynam.

The Premiership can’t be regarded as a complete failure though. Admittedly it has found it hard to challenge Match Of The Day, but there must be something solid about it because as an investor you don’t invest £187m over three years for something that you expect to be a failure. Although they didn’t succeed at first they have attempted to put right their mistakes, through rescheduling to a more popular time. Audience figures are starting to pick up and they’ve done away with unpopular slots, such as the Andy Townsend video analysis with a player from the match in question.
Gradually the presenters are starting to develop a rapport with the fans. A common joke is that Ally McCoist’s goal of the day selection is inaccurate. If you look back to Match Of the day a similar joke was that Mark Lawrensen should shave his much-hated moustache off. Gary Liniker’s ears were frequently the subject of a joke too. ITV is reinventing Des Lynam’s role as a presenter. They are now representing Des Lynam as a more knowledgeable, sophisticated and clean-cut presenter in order to make him more appealing and easily digestible to the audience. This reinforces the show’s ideology of professionalism and sophisticated style with its initial mass inclusion of the technological advancements, such as on screen graphics over football highlights, but this was presumed to be too drastic a change to the genre and has thus been toned down.
Originally just a presenter and football expert at the BBC they are trying to re-define his personality in relation to the audience. ITV thought that attempting to target the loyal audience of the BBC would prove to be unsuccessful, so they attempted to aim the show at a new audience. This backfired, so the only solution was to revert back to the traditional viewers in a last ditch effort. The theory that the show was traditionally targeted at the family and female audience is evident in the fact that The Premiership used a lot of statistics to appeal to the younger, less football minded audience. This is also true if you believe the common belief that football is understood less well by the female audience. The use of statistics adds further weight to the argument that ITV have tried to copy aspects from Sky Sports, who are very keen on using statistics to appeal to a family audience. The break through of a main female presenter is signalling a new era in football, by challenging the stereotypes and conventions within broadcasting. The BBC also has a female reporter, but she has nowhere the position that Gabby Logan has. It has been a brave move on the part of ITV to introduce a female presenter considering that the BBC felt it might prove unpopular to do so, but the advantage of creating a new show is that as a broadcaster, you can make such innovations. ITV has made efforts to break down the longstanding codes and conventions set by Match Of The Day and although not too popular many viewers are sure that the female presenter is one the audience will be seeing more of in the future.
ITV is slowly trying to break away from the codes and conventions that have been set by Match Of The Day. So far they have made several major mistakes, but as they win the support of the audience gradually they’ll make greater concessions to what the TV company can do. The audience has the ability to influence what is produced through the way they interpret the information from The Premiership. The Uses and Gratifications Theory suggests that the audience are not simply passive consumers, but active ones, who use the media texts for their own purposes. The audience takes from the text what they need from it, disregarding elements that are superfluous to their needs. The reception theory is accepts the Uses and Gratifications ideas, but goes on to say that an audience’s reception is governed by their own personal context, in other words the audience’s own experiences or beliefs influence the way they receive the text. Applying it to The Premiership, if the conventions of the genre are evolved too quickly the audience will disregard it, as it doesn’t fit into to their social beliefs. The media partly dictates the way society and popular views develop and anything that is introduced too quickly, for example female presenters can make the audience react negatively towards the show. At the same time the social climate and opinions will dictate how the media text in question will be constructed, again in an attempt to avoid a negative reaction. The theory also states that the amount that the audience is exposed will affect the way the information is interpreted. ITV not only have On The Ball and The Premiership, but also The Premiership, a different highlights and topic discussion show late on Monday nights, carrying the same name. This mass coverage will reinforce the way the audience feels about the presenters and the show in general. Football supporters are generally passionate, and on this show they have football fans commenting on their teams. This is further evidence of the Premiership attempting to copy Sky Sports, as on the interactive service you can get supporter of the two playing teams commentating on the game. What ITV lacks in presenters in great footballing careers and the authority that comes with it, they make up for in having fans that have the automatic trust from the audience. They have compensated for what they lack as presenters. Admittedly have copied some characteristics common to BBC and Sky Sports, but they have equalled, if not improved them. The theory of opinion leaders are also applicable to The Premiership this theory is the notion that the effect a media text has on an audience can be altered or modified by “opinion leaders” endorsing, or denouncing the text. Obviously the latter is not going to be the case as they don’t have motive to do so as amateurs, but there present is crucial to the presenters who are not themselves opinion leaders on the same scale as Match Of The Day presenters. Through associating themselves with these fans they are automatically winning the trust of the viewers. The fans in question would have been through rigorous interviews to check that they are suitable for the job. No risk has been taken on ITV’s part, as the presenters are already semi-popular. The endorsement from these opinion formers boosts their popularity. It was also a successful move because it is cost effective. The “two step flow” theory suggests that potential audiences may hold an opinion without having seen the text first hand, but gaining it from an opinion former. The presence of fans on the show will gain the audience’s support because they respect their opinion.
In conclusion, The Premiership hasn’t succeeded in capturing a viable commercial audience. It has had many problems in its struggle with viewing figures and neglected the nature of the Saturday viewing. It tampered with a traditional night of television, in terms of scheduling and thought it could generate huge revenue from a highlights programme; traditionally its predecessor, Match of the Day aimed to create a dedicated following of football supporters. The idea of attempting to copy such a show in a commercial format is contradictory. However, the shows ratings are on the increase.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
cheers amte. good luck in your exams and thanks for taking the time to read it and post your opinions.:)
 

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Beefy said:
this is the essay i recently submitted for my media studies coursework and got an A for. i await your reactions and value your opinions and i hope you enjoy the read.:)

I opened a thread on a football website to see how the audience felt about the show and it proved extremely useful, however it cannot be regarded as entirely accurate as the users of the site might not be entirely representative of The Premiership’s audience. Nonetheless their opinions are still valid, particularly in establishing why the presenters of the show weren’t particularly popular in comparison with those on Match of the Day. The BBC used presenters with which the audience can identify. Excluding Des Lynam ITV has failed to match the presenters with the audience. The audience has problems relating to Ron Atkinson, Allie McCoist and Andy Townsend, all of whom have been branded “footballing rejects” by posters on the thread. The BBC had established players who had been highly talented in their playing career presenting the show. Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrensen had been part of the famous Liverpool side of the 1980s, while Gary Lineker and Trevor Brooking are England legends. Ally McCoist spent his career in Scottish football, which football fans and the audience consider mediocre in comparison with the English game. The audience feels that because he wasn’t as experienced in his football career as his BBC counterparts, he has less authority when analysing football. At this level you need to become a figure of authority on the subject of football, otherwise how can the viewers ever trust what you’re saying if they don’t trust your integrity.
Another one of ITV’s biggest mistakes arguably was to use Des Lynam, a former presenter of Match Of The Day to present The Premiership. It reflects unfavourably on ITV’s lack of imagination in having to hire the former main presenter from its competitor. Initially viewers accused ITV of plagiarism, but with time they have come to accept it and Des Lynam is slowly redeveloping his relationship with the audience. He is a popular figure and has a gentle quality about him, which is reassuring to the audience and this helps to appeal to viewers who are uncertain of what to make of the show. His inclusion in the show was instrumental in the original scheduling of the show at 7:00 and although not his natural role he could be seen as someone ideal for that role.

I found this quite interesting.

Thought I'd write something too.

Overall, the NZ television sports programme follows a pretty basic format. You have a main presenter, very rarely a former sportsman, perhaps a journo but generally a former reporter, fronting the programme. Various sporting heroes are introduced week in week out depending on the game, and code, for a very limited analysis of players, andecdotes on past games and humourous remarks about current crop of players. For indepth analysis, you have a coach, or former coach, or foreign journo or reporter, and for post match wrap up, generally someone current from one of the prominant newspapers. Rugby commentary is dominated by older blokes, generally in their late 40s and onwards, the only inclusion of youth coming from the former players. Football is different, being aimed at different market. The presenters range from 28 to 40. Both are exclusively male. Cricket follows a similar pattern, although I would hazard a guess that the age bracket for the main commentators is even older, 50+. I think that if NZ sporting programmes had to compete with their English counterparts, the lack of humour, and analysis which is pretty basic even given the experience of the guys brought in to elucidate it, would see a serious downward trend in viewing figures in the NZ format.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
it's not as hard as it looks, so long as you're interested in what you're writing about. my friend louis(iamchewie) who some of you may remember is really clever and wrote about the harry potter promotional campaign, but only got 25/60 at first then 35/60 after redoing it. i got 49:) :angel: ;)
 
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