Article

Audience Fragmentation

David Tewksbury

in Communication

ISBN: 9780199756841
Published online February 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199756841-0009
Audience Fragmentation

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Fragmentation is a broad term used to describe the transition of a population from one comprised of few large audiences for any one media product to another comprised of more numerous smaller audiences. In general, the number of people in the population attending to products need not change. Rather, fragmentation is assumed to result from a substantial increase in the number of options from which people can choose. It is often assumed that fragmentation involves the creation of audiences that are less internally heterogeneous as they become smaller, but that is not necessarily the case. Indeed, the level of homogeneity of the audience prompts a need for additional terms. Segmentation can be used to describe fragmented audiences that are internally homogenous. Media producers typically find such audiences desirable for the purposes of grouping people for advertisers. As a result, market segmentation is often a term used to describe media outlet strategy. Media outlets are able to segment the audience when (1) they specialize their products to meet the demands of the desired audience and (2) people specialize their outlet and content selection purposefully. Some observers have decided that successful segmentation of a populace results in polarization, the division of people into like-minded groups who share similar knowledge, opinion, or value profiles.

Article.  9274 words. 

Subjects: Communication Studies

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