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It’s been all over the media and our minds for the last 3 years. GFC, financial crises, economic downfall, there are many names for what has tested the strength and resilience of Australian business, media, and consumers. Consumers aren’t buying as much, retail is suffering, advertising has gone a bit soft - these are challenges we all face daily within our own business and with our clients.
Now before I start to sound too negative, let me tell you that despite the economic conditions, there have been a number of great things emerging in media that consumers have seemed to latch onto for hope and entertainment - and one specifically is locally produced reality TV. Of late, reality TV has had a bandwagon effect in Australia with productions like Masterchef, X Factor, Australian Idol, The Block, My Kitchen Rules, and the newest phenomenon, The Voice.
So why is reality TV going to save the morale of Australian consumers?
Well for a number of reasons...reality TV emotionally connects with viewers. The content is common to every day life, and the wider public can relate more specifically to the contestants. Reality TV gives the “average joe” an opportunity to be famous, it allows them to see others fail in a positive light, which makes them feel better about their own economic situation, and most importantly it offers the audience a say in the results - especially at a time when things in life and in the world seem way out of our control.
There is something special about offering a simple individual the opportunity to gain popularity and fame. In some cases, contestants have even been lucky enough to forge a career they had once never thought possible. 2011 The Block winners Polly and Waz and the countless, almost overwhelming number of Masterchef contestants still seen in the public sphere are prime examples of this.
On another note, reality TV shows like The Voice and Australian Idol have both let the “average joe” have a say in the results. Individuals gets to be a part of the decision making of the program. This offers viewers a sense of inclusion even if though they are not competing. They get to rise above the system - above the rules and regulations of the network and the production team. They get to have their say and make a difference. In today’s tough times, having a sense of control even in their entertainment is important to consumers.
All in all, there are many ways that reality TV acts as a GFC buster, but most importantly it provides a platform for consumers to escape the tough times, and encourages them to display and explore other talents and skills that they have to offer.
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