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What strategies are used by British soap operas to attract large audiences

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Introduction

What strategies are used by British soap operas to attract large audiences? British soap operas used a variety of strategies and operations to attract a large audience. These strategies clearly work as proven by viewing figures for the three most popular soaps; Eastenders, Coronation Street and Emmerdale command viewing audiences of over ten million on a regular basis. Also soaps have proven to be the most consistent in terms of high audience figures over the years, making them indispensable to the institutions which create them. One strategy used by institutions and producers of a soap, is to place them at a peak viewing time to maximise audience figures. Also the timing of the program means that it has the highest exposure to a possible audience. The major soaps aimed at an adult audience of around 18-60, are screened during the mid-evening. These soaps will also be aimed at family audience, once again to maximise the figures. ...read more.

Middle

The viewers will become emotionally involved in the program due to its realism, therefore blurring the lines between fiction and reality to a certain extent. The plot and characters provide the viewers with what they want to see. Due to a soaps' continuation, ultimate plot resolution never occurs. The program will use this particular tool as a hook for the next episode, using a cliff hanger, to cut off the action at a critical point. This will create suspense and leaves the audience with many questions, which may end up having several different answers. A cliff hanger will not be used at the end of every episode though, with a humorous ending, or something thought-provoking may be used to even up the more serious and gritty drama. The characters will have a particular audience following. Some viewers may particularly like one character or family and watch specifically to see them. Because of this, the script writers and producers will vary the storylines and will make sure the audience eventually get what they want. ...read more.

Conclusion

If viewers are forced to miss their favourite soap for a prolonged period of time, there's no need to worry. This is because the script constantly refers back to past events, and because each storyline takes a long time to develop. Some viewers say they enjoy gossiping about the soap as much as they enjoy watching the actual programme. As well as trying to predict what is going to happen, they like to analyse the behaviour and motives of the characters, and make comparisons with their own lives. The media institutions producing the soap will use all of these particular strategies to gain a maximum audience share. They will make sure all of these points will be followed and other examples of the past implementation of them will be used as evidence of their success. Also some of the strategies such as cliff hangers, continuing plots and focus on a particular character will ensure that viewers will continue to watch and not become bored or lose interest. This then will mean the soap will become an important part of evening viewing and its popularity will grow. Word count:1,025 ...read more.

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