Research

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 towardsCoronation 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
www.emmahynes.wordpress.com
Twitter: @ELHynes

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