Tag Archives: nintendo

Defining Audiences

Time for some psychology and audience types. Click on the images to go on the sites mentioned.

Quantitative data

Quantitative refers to numerical data, hard facts if you like. This kind of research produces stats and measurable data, in the world of media this can include: TV ratings, game sales, site hits, box office earnings, number of downloads etc.

These kind of data are popular amongst analysts. As they are easily presentable and act as precise stats that can be used as factual evidence to make important decisions, or just getting a general idea of the market.  However numbers are arbitrary and is not useful as constructive feedback (number can’t give hints to how media works can be improved quality wise for instance).

The largest radio audience research group has been commissioned by the BBC for years. In an era where technology is shifting there's no guarantee if BBC's radio efforts will be relevant. Judging by these data the medium is still as strong as ever (which would explain BBC's continued investment).

The largest radio audience research group has been commissioned by the BBC for years. In an era where technology is shifting there’s no guarantee if BBC’s radio efforts will be relevant. Judging by this data the medium is still as strong as ever (which would explain BBC’s continued investment).

It’s also interesting to note that RAJAR’s data shows an increase of radio consumption via mobile phones amongst young people is increasingly which would push BBC to support and expand their radio apps (i.e. iPlayer radio which is consistently updated).

BBC\s TV ratings (collected from barb), EasterEnders is unsurprisingly dominating it. Only New Tricks is higher (wow).

BBC\s TV ratings, EasterEnders is unsurprisingly dominating it. Only New Tricks is higher (wow). TV ratings are used to decide whether more episode should be made, i.e. BBC commissioned for more episodes of New Tricks when the pilot episode had a decent viewership.

VGChartz is a giant database for number of games sold around the world. It’s a good source for game researcher to see what kind of games are popular where.

In the commercial world even great games can flop miserably when it comes to sales due to whatever reasons. It’s also a factor when it comes to continuing a franchise (sometimes companies make hush decisions), looking at two Ubisoft IPs: one was a blown away success (total sales of 5.32 million on Xbox 360 alone) and has spawned numerous sequels and spinoffs in less than 5 years.

I’m talking about Assassin’s Creed of course.

Compared to the innovative, though dividing amongst critics (a qualitative factor I suppose), ZombiU which had any hopes of a sequel cut short due to its low sales (0.54m is low in terms of Ubisoft standards).

We’ll never see a zombie game set in London again.

Even long standing series can be ended if the lastest game doesn’t sell so well. For instance Fire Emblem Awakening the 13th release in a series dating back to the nes era was going to be the last if the sales did not exceed 250,000 units at least. Luckily it ended up being the best selling game in the series and already surpassed the million mark at time of typing (and that’s not counting digital copies).

“Due to declining sales of the Fire Emblem series, Nintendo had told the Fire Emblem team that if sales of this latest game didn’t reach 250,000 copies, the series would come to an end.” -Siliconera. Now that goals been broken Nintendo’s already partnered up with another company, Atlus to create the next installment in the series SMT X Fire Emblem.

Mojo is a records box office grossings as well as the original film's budget. The higher the profit the higher the chance of a sequel.

Mojo is a records box office grossings as well as the original film’s budget. The higher the profit the higher the chance of a sequel. I mean just look at how many Pirates of the Caribbean there are even after the two hottest cast members left, their still making sequels. It’s one of Disney’s most popular franchises after all.

The abc is (not the infamous US broadcaster) a media data gatherer in short, an organisation that partners up with media organisations to provides audits on how well their service is doing. Their speciality is in print media so magazine publishers use the results of print circulation for promotion or tracking their success. Here’s a BBC article doing just that.

Qualitative data

Qualitative research requires gathering opinions and in-depth data given by individuals usually collected in text form. In the media world this includes: interviews, online forums, reviews, comments, surveys (with open questions) and even complaint and reaction letters to TV broadcasters can be used as research material. This type of data became more in demand as psychological studies of audience rose in importance. Individual opinions helped give an overall view of a media product and the popularity of reviews became a marking sheet for improving said media. The date is also crucial for understanding a media’s reputation amongst consumers. Though qualitative data can be highly subjected to bias and impossible to measure statistically.

Nintendo gives out stars (reward points) to people who take survey for the software they register.

Nintendo gives out stars (reward points) to people who take survey for the software they register. Some of the feedback is used in promoting their products (nothing beats taking quotes from customers).

Browsing through the Nintendo website there is a whole section that houses the company president’s (Satoru Iwata) numerous interviews with game developers that serves as an insight to development (thus promoting the product at the sametime to consumers) as well as to build stronger relations with third parties and Nintendo employees (whilst gaining insights as to what makes developers want to actually work with Nintendo).

As it is Nintendo we are talking about here, the interviews are a very unconventional way of building business relations.

Metacritic collects and aggregates reviews of games, films, TV and music from different websites. Much has been debated about using it as a basis to judge a product though.

There has actually been some controversy surrounding the quantitative  score outputted by the aggregator (including one notorious case where a job application from Irrational games demanded applicants with: “Credit on at least one game with an 85+ average Metacritic review score.” with was considered baffling irrational by the same critics that gave out scores). The actually reviews themselves collected by the site however has had impact on how creators can improve:

Borderlands 2 had much more plot and variety than the previous installment and that was due to the common criticisms the latter received from gaming journalists.

Focus group screenings are a popular way of getting pre-release audience responses to see what people liked and didn’t like in order to heighten a movie’s reception amongst viewers. Last minute edits and scene changes are usually made after this.

The Simpsons movie had a very special focus screening where they decided which scene to keep by the amount of laughter; one church scene almost got cut out until someone bursted out in hilarity.

Audience profiling:

There are bazillion ways to label audiences, some are odder than others, but there’s a theory for each since psychologists and researchers have a field day coming up with them. For the sake of examples this

  • Socio-economic status–  people’s cultural, their societies’ views and their financial status.

Whilst the old British class system has only one group, a recent (depending on when you are reading this) survey done by a collaboration of socialists have identified 7.

  • Demographics– age, gender, sexual orientation and ethnicity of your target audience. This is the one that everyone brags on about the most as it plays a big factor in deciding target audiences of any piece of media.

Sometimes companies research into demographics in order to know more about a game’s audience. This chart helps illustrate the audience demographic (in terms of age and gender) for games in the animal crossing series. Is a way to determine how to market the game to such target audiences (we can see that the game is popular amongst 10-12 boys and girls as well as 19-24 females) and how games in future should cater to them. Also note that these results are obtained from the survey earlier. Nintendo carries out gallons of research.

  • Psychographics– a category that characterises audiences on what they like and what makes a product tick for them (a deeper analysis into the product rather than the audience’s demographic etc). The name says it all: is about what people think, their personality and the kind of lifestyle they endeavor. This method of profiling is slowly starting to replace the demographical methods, with the rise of internet surfers and thus easier to obtain behavioural data and survey distributions, it’s only natural that psychographic profiling is on the rise.
psy

Due to the complex and flexible nature of psychographics, organisations usual come up with their own classifications like the 4Cs above. These lifestyles are meant to be cross-cultural.

  • Geographic location– Where the target audience resides. Sort of similar to cultural as well but really it’s an excuse to include different dialects within your product to better relate to people of a particular region (otherwise known as regional-identity). PlusNet’s brand identity is a good example, they take pride in their Yorkshire roots (hence why their mascot is a friendly man speaking with a regional yorkshire accent):
  • Consumer behaviour/attitudes/awareness– Qualitative research is carried out specifically to support this type of profiling. By getting reactions from different audiences on your product, you can start pinpointing which type of audience find your product the most appealing (this is linked to psychographics of course).
App store reviews often dictate what future updates are based around, whether small (bugs) or big (new additions to the app). Image above is reviews for LinkedIn Pulse app.

App store reviews often dictate what future updates are based around, whether small (bugs) or big (new additions to the app). Image above is reviews for LinkedIn Pulse app.

And the subsequent updates that follows after customer feedback.

And the subsequent updates that follows after customer feedback.

  • Education– how educated is your audience? This is not a case of seeing how smart your audience is but rather their know how in a particular area. Their literacy level should determine the words you use, their understanding levels of a subject should dictate the amount of jargon or explanations you include.
From Guardian's audience profiling page. You can see that they are using grounds of demographics, education and age to highlight their target audience's sophistication and diversity.

From Guardian’s audience profiling page. You can see that they are using grounds of demographics, education (look our reader are more educated!) and age to highlight their target audience’s sophistication and diversity.

  • Mainstream- products that are marketed to the mainstream compete with the latest and most popular medias. Since this audience group are big on trends and wouldn’t actively seek out a piece of media unless heavily advertised or is well know. That’s how the industry define mainstream: the will buy what is hot folks. Media creators will often try to imitate successful products in order to cater to that familiarity, that’s why we now have a million superhero films and first person shooters (this might all sound strange if you are reading it in future, trends always change).
  • Niche- Refers to a market that is small but dedicated groups that share common interests. It’s a very specialised audience. Usually media with limited appeal but a dedicated fanbase of another product in a series or similar medias, are considered to have niche appeal. Targeting niche markets usually requires less brodacious advertising efforts than targeting for mainstream audiences since the former is more likely to seek out what they like.

By looking at this we can see clearly that action adventure will be considered mainstream and indie/art house films are considered niche. Indie films are usually broadcasted at film festivals for the dedicated film lover and critics (targeting the niche so to speak). Whereas action adventures are advertised everywhere: a glimpse at the dvd sections will reveal a collage of guys with guns, if you are lucky there might be an obscured corner that houses indie films. There’s a clear difference in method of marketing here, as it is assumed that only the obsessive will seek out the least popular genre. I personally think this is a chicken and egg matter, are indie films naturally unpopular or is it the lack of effort (and budget) in their marketing? I’d go cinema more if they actually had a more diverse range of genres or indie films.

The humanist in me likes to think that we are all unpreditable individuals. Not so sure that works in the world of marketing though. Audience profiling is important but there should also be considerations regarding excluding other potential audiences (which might not be your target demographic but still want to enjoy the product).