Friday, 3 April 2015

You Have Been Watching: My Audience Research

Ever wonder who makes up Coronation Street's audience? What portion are male and female? What age group do they belong to? What do they do for a living, and from where are they viewing the programme?

Last year I conducted audience research as part of my MA in Film and Television studies for a project entitled Coronation Street: A Survey of Fan Engagement and Viewership.

The purpose of my research was to investigate how changes in technology, the viewing community, fandom and attitudes towards Coronation Street have impacted on how fans view and engage with the programme. My investigation took the form of an online survey completed by 339 viewers, and today I’d like to share a selection of my findings in the category of viewer profile.

Out of 339 respondents, 237 (69.91%) were female and 102 (30.09%) were male.

The majority (171) were aged between 40-59 (50.44%). The oldest respondents, of which there were 9 (2.65%), appeared in the 70-75 category, while 20 (5.9%) were aged between 10-19.

With regard to profession, I discovered that, as with Lyn Thomas’s research on long running radio soap opera The Archers, “the middle-classness” of the respondents was striking. As viewers were requested to type their occupation in a box rather than choose from set answers, I coded all 339 responses into 6 categories; homemaker, professional, student, unemployed, retired, unclear/not provided.

There were 68.44% (232) named occupations which included economist, doctor, professor, engineer, director and nurse. 7.37% (25) indicated that they were students, while 14.75% (50) were retired, often from named professions such as librarian, police officer and teacher. 4.72% (16) of the 339 were unemployed with 3.83% (13) fulfilling a homemaker role. Only 3 occupations (0.88%) were deliberately omitted or unclear.

The majority of viewers, 148 (43.66%) stated they watched Coronation Street in Great Britain with Canada coming a close second at 120 (35.4%). 30 (8.85%) of those who completed the questionnaire were viewing from the USA, and 22 (6.49%) from Ireland. I found the latter surprisingly low considering that’s where I am from, and Coronation Street airs on the same days and times here as it does in the UK. Indeed, it has been reported in the Irish Times that more than 40% of UTV Ireland's audience share in January 2015 came from Coronation Street and Emmerdale, and the post-bus crash episode of Corrie was the station's most viewed programme in their debut month on air with 597,000 viewers tuning in.

While this figure might seem low to those used to seeing ratings in excess of 7 million reported in respect of Coronation Street, to put this in perspective, this constitutes approximately 11% of the population of the Republic of Ireland which is, on average, the same percentage viewing Corrie in the UK.

The remaining 2.65% indicated they were viewing from Australia, New Zealand and central Europe.

I hope you have found this interesting, and I look forward to sharing more of my research with you soon.

In the meantime, you might like to read my previous work on spoilers.

By Emma Hynes
Twitter: @ELHynes

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All original work on the Coronation Street Blog is covered by a Creative Commons License


Anonymous said...

Great write up and interesting findings Emma!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Emma! Interesting as always. Just curious, did you get responses from other sources or just from visitors to this blog? If the latter, would your findings be a good reflection of user demographics for Coronation Street Blog? And if so, it sounds like a wee bit of Irish outreach might be in order!

Kim Page said...

Ty, for the research Emma. Very surprising, at the same time, gratifying? lol

Anonymous said...

How were those 339 people selected? If they responded to a request on a blog, then that's bound to have skewed results.

Emma Hynes said...

Always glad to hear that readers find my work of interest, thank you for taking the time to let me know.

To Anon @ 21:45, while I did invite fans to complete the survey via the blog, it was also shared on Twitter, Facebook and via e-mail, so not everyone that completed it will have learned of it via this blog. In fact, one of my most interesting findings was that a surprising number of those surveyed claimed not to engage with online communities or social media in respect of Coronation Street, indicating that it was shared outside of blogs and social media platforms. The Irish figures have piqued my interest and is something I'm considering doing further research on.

To Anon @ 05:57, as you have not specified, I can't be sure what aspect of the results you would consider open to skewing. As above, the blog wasn't the only means by which respondents were sought. However, it must be borne in mind that the survey was targeted at Coronation Street fans and its purpose was to assess the pleasures found in, among other things, online engagement, making the blog a most suitable place to find viewers willing to complete it.

This work, which was considered and thorough, was conducted over a period of months. The purpose of this blog is to offer a very small insight into what was a huge project for me. It's simply not possible to go into anything remotely like the level of detail required of me when presenting my findings in essay form.

Anonymous said...

There are quite a few 80+ year olds in Canada who regularly watch(myself included). Frankly speaking though, I'm getting tired of the storylines of late; I miss the comedy of the 1960's
and 70's.

vintgal003 said...

Good Morning and Happy Easter Emma...thank you for providing the interesting results... Glad to see Canadians right up there, in the numbers!!

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