Appreciating the Costs and Benefits of Media Market Research in the Digital Era

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Market research, conducted within the media industries to solve business problems, has been used for decades to understand viewer and audience attitudes, opinions, and behaviors. Through market research, media companies are able to hone their media products - films, television shows, web sites - to appeal to the widest audience possible. This chapter considers the portfolio of media market research typically conducted in the industry. Rather than endorsing the studies, the chapter takes a critical eye on the assumptions behind the studies and the implicit image of the viewer created through the work. The drastic shifts in technology and media consumption during the past three decades also demand a fresh look at these traditional market research methods. The goal of the chapter is to sketch the model of media market research and to suggest the challenges facing market research in reflecting our current entertainment and viewing landscape.

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