1.1 Background of the Study
Television contents production are essential elements of television broadcasting. Programs are largely responsible for a television station’s rating, revenue and audience perception. Eastman, Ferguson, & Klein, (2013) indicate that programs help stations to stay afloat in the midst of stiff competition. In the same light, Pongiannan (2012) opined that programming when poorly handled leads to a loss of audience and lack of interest on the side of the viewers. In television stations universally, the department liable for arranging programs ‘is the place where power and authority lies’ this is because it has an impact on the audience and vice versa (Ihlebaek, Syvertsen & Ytreberg, 2014). This is premised on Pringle & Starr, (2015) submission that of all the factors that establish the financial success of a radio or television station, none is more important than content programming. Television Programs and content production are therefore, major keys in the management of a television station as they are capable of changing the fortunes of the stations and the general perceptions of the audience of Nigerians and beyond. Although how, when and what kind of programs a station produces or possess is determined by four influencers and factors: audience, advertiser, regulator and the broadcaster (Pringle & Starr, 2015), the audience is key among these factors. Pringle & Starr, (2015) opined that success in television programming depends heavily and solely on the ‘ability to produce or air programs with audience appeal, air them at times when they can be easily viewed by the audience to which they appeal, and build individual programs into a schedule that encourages viewers to key into the station and settle with it from one programs to another’. Thus, Eastman & Ferguson, (2012) establish that, only successful programming win large audience to television in Nigeria. Television programs are established by program content producers and television station managers to satisfy and meet audience needs which is the core objective of every television station globally. The deregulation by the government and digitalization of television stations in Nigeria has given birth to so many privately and publicly owned television stations whose challenge is to capture a big share of the viewing audience globally i.e. Nigeria and beyond (Ugande, 2013; Asekun-Olarinmoye, Uwom, Chioma, & Olatunbosun, 2014). Nigerians are generally now exposed to numerous public and private television stations including Channels TV, Africa Independent Television (AIT), Nigerian Television Authority(NTA), Galaxy TV, Silver Bird TV, to mention but a few etc (Akinwalere, 2013; Chioma, 2014). Alhassan & Kwakwa, (2013) pined that the implication of growth in the number of television stations is tight competition among the stations for viewership and audience in Nigeria. According to Udende, Abdulraheem & Oyewo (2014), the struggle among television stations is higher when the television stations have similar and peculiar programming objectives, goals, aims and television scheduling strategies and accurate timing. For example, AIT, Channels TV and NTA have similar programs during the same time of the day usually between 11am -12pm, especially at peak time. Obono & Madu, (2014) establish that the deregulation of television stations in Nigeria has opened way for competitive television production content, stations offering the similar kind of program at same hour with same strategies making tougher for general audience to choose among the available. This has given rise to competition amongst the television stations as each station desire to earn higher audience rating. Most television stations provide news programs in the morning, entertainment and news in the evening. Eastman et al., (2013) submits that Audience has been the king whom all the television stations want to serve and the only way to achieve this objective is through effective programming. Programs are essential elements of television broadcasting. Programs are largely responsible for a television station’s rating and revenue. Eastman, Ferguson, & Klein, (2013) indicate that programs help stations to stay afloat in the midst of stiff competition. In the same light, Pongiannan (2012) assert that programming when poorly handled leads to a loss of audience. Eastman et al., (2013) submit that the simultaneous loss in revenue generation can be the death of a television station. In television stations globally, the department responsible for arranging programs ‘is the place where power lies’ (Ihlebaek, Syvertsen, & Ytreberg, 2014). This is premised on Pringle & Starr, (2015) submission that of all the factors that determine the financial success of a radio or television station, none is more important than programming. Programs are therefore, key in the management of a television station as they are capable of changing the fortunes of the stations. Several studies have shown that quality programming is the basic strategy that motivates audience to watch television stations (Zureikat, 1999; Okoye, 2004; Rahman, 1998; Nwabueze, 2010). Television stations therefore, are always coming up with more creative programs to effectively compete with other stations for audience. Apart from quality content programs, Nwabueze, Nweke, Okowa-Nwaebi and Ebeze (2012) say, there are other television program factors like time, presenters, demographics and positive values that also motivate audience exposure and preference, they emphasize on high programming and not just quality program. The preferences of audience established by Lee & Lewis, (2012) have been insignificant to the general program process; journalists (programme producers) are now becoming more aware of and adaptive to audience tastes and preferences. Although, Lee & Lewis, (2012) specifically show that journalists rationalize and reduce the audience to a quantifiable aggregate. This in no way give details of what the audience may prefer and why they prefer one program or a television station to another. Lee and Lewis’ (2012) argument suggest that although it is better that media producers are starting to appreciate the audience taste (audience preferences/choices), it is not enough to just count how many audiences watch a program but to establish ‘the why’. In this regard, Tandoc, (2014); Hong, (2013); Less & Lewis, (2012) emphasize that television stations need to understand that audience have preferences and to know what the preferences are is important in order to serve them better. Audiences participate at several levels in the production process that can have potential importance for the way meaning is constructed. Thus, the kind of programs shown have also caused public interest groups, religious leaders and groups, and concerned academicians and parents to complain about the inherent values portrayed. Basically, these complaints revolve around their concern for the influence these programs (apart from other factors) might have on the increasing social problems faced as the country modernized. Therefore, how does audience participation have influence on television content production like government policies and talks about Igbo presidency? This research seeks to establish how audience participation has influence on television content production and what program audience preferred the most.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Problem Public perception of Television media (television) has changed tremendously in Nigeria today. Television media program which was once regarded as unidirectional media in the traditional setting is now dynamically interactive. With the floodgate of different channels opened, audience’s participation and involvement in broadcast programs have appreciated impressively. Media Audiences get back to the broadcast stations through channels such as phone-in programs, social media (face book, twitter, Skype etc.), e-mail, discussion group, physical visit to television stations, printed letters and text messages to express their opinions, feelings and views not only about public issues, social issues and federal government policies raised by the television media but also about the media programs which they are exposed to. Broadcast stations also see great opportunities in harnessing audiences‟ feelings, views and opinions as necessary feedbacks or an interaction with it audience to improve program effectiveness or effective contents. With these appreciated audiences‟ involvement and volume of feedback, one would expect effective program output from the stations. However, this can only happen if actually such feedbacks harnessed are incorporated into TV programs in this case the TV programs should have quality content. This constitutes the focus of this investigation. Therefore the impact of these audiences on television content production on programs is limited this because of poor management and government policies guiding the running of such television contents, which has in turn reduced the impact and influence on this television programs. This study, therefore, intends to examine the influence of audience on television content production on the program issues.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to examine the influence of audience on television content production on program issues. The specific objectives are to;
1.4 Research Questions
1.5 Research Hypotheses
H0: There is no significant impact of audience on television content production in Nigeria
H1: There is a significant impact of audience on television content production in Nigeria.
H0: There is no significant relationship between audience participation and television content production in Nigeria
H1: There is a significant relationship between audience participation and television content production in Nigeria
The study would have contribution to enlighten the society on the influence of audience on television content production on program issues. A phone-in program could be an instantaneous way of having feedback on any given idea, policy or measure about to be introduced either by a corporate organization, an individual or government of the day. It is obviously the best form of testing the acceptability of new ideas, opinions and policies. This study is therefore significant because it is capable of enabling the sampling of opinion without necessarily undergoing the Federal Government policies about Igbo presidency. This would make the listeners part and parcel (active) of decision making or policy formulation. The participatory nature of phone-in program is expected to give an individual television viewer a sense of belonging and not make him an inactive receiver of information and ideas passed across by the television. It is therefore the opinion of this researcher that the appraisal of this phone-in program will go a long way to enhancing quality production and presentation, as well as making it truly audience participatory. It would also prepare ground for interested researcher who might wish to conduct further research in related areas and could contribute to the existing literature.
The study is restricted to the influence of audience on television content production on the program issues.
In Nigeria, there are various television stations that air phone-in programs either as a segment in a program or as a whole phone-in program. It is therefore impossible to study the whole television houses in Nigeria. Therefore the researcher decided to study Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) in Aba, Abia state.
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview)
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work
Television: A system for converting visual images with sound into electrical signals, transmitting them by radio or other means, and displaying them electronically on a screen. It also refers to an audio-visual medium which blends pictures with sound to produce a communication experience exhibited on the screen. Television or TV is a telecommunication medium used for transmitting moving images in monochrome (black- and-white), or in color, and in two or three dimensions and sound. It can refer to a television set, a television program (“TV show”), or the medium of television transmission. In this context, it refers to a mass medium which transmits audio-visual signals which are accessed by viewers through an electronic screen.
Television Production: In television production, the head of the production that is called a producer is in charge of the entire production. The producer is also responsible for all the people working on the production front and for coordinating technical and non technical production elements.
AUDIENCE: An audience is a group of people who participate in a show or encounter a work of art, literature (in which they are called "readers"), theatre, music (in which they are called "listeners"), video games (in which they are called "players"), or academics in any medium. Audience members participate in different ways in different kinds of art; some events invite overt audience participation and others allowing only modest clapping and criticism and reception.
Program: This refers to a carefully prepared and packaged media message which is aired on a radio or television station within a specific period of time. A television program is a segment of content intended for broadcast on over-the-air, cable television, or Internet television or any other commercial, trailer, or any other segment of content serving as attraction for viewership. A television program can just be something that people watch on television; it can be a series of fictional programs with the same title and characters. Program is performance designed for a particular target audience, slated for a particular time on television by a television station.
Influence: The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself. In another way, influence is to cause someone to change a behavior, belief, or opinion, or to cause something to be changed. The power, control, authority and direction to make other people agree with your opinions or do what you want (Collins, 2018). Influence is the ability or effect of television programs on audience that is able to change the opinion and believe of the audience about television programs and their stations.
Phone-In: According to Encarta dictionaries, it is a radio or television program in which audience members can participate by telephone and ask questions, make contributions or take part in discussions about a particular subject with the host and any quests.
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