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OCR AS UNIT G322 - Audiences and Institutions: Kerrang!

Stephen Hill | Friday September 04, 2009

Categories: A Level, OCR A Level, OCR AS, Key Concepts, Audience, Institutions, New Media, Convergence, New Technologies, Synergy, We Media

Discuss the issues raised by an institution’s need to target specific audiences within a media industry that you have studied.


The need to target a ‘specific audience’ is a key issue for the ‘magazine industry’. Magazines are heavily ‘subsidized by advertising’ and the key to attracting a sustainable ‘portfolio of advertisers’ is the creation of a product that is desirable to their ‘target market’.

As a consequence, within the magazine industry as a whole, there are many magazines aimed at similar audiences because that ‘demographic’ is lucrative for advertisers. For example, there are lots of titles aimed at teenage girls (Bliss, More, Cosmogirl etc) but not so many aimed at single mums! The reason for this is that teenage girls have much higher ‘disposable income’.

Though titles within a certain ‘sector of the market’ may be very similar, each will have a unique ‘selling point’ designed to appeal to a specific ‘target audience’. Kerrang!, for example, competes with Metal Hammer and Terrorizer. However, one of its ‘unique selling points’ as a ‘passion title’ is its ‘brand credibility’: the magazine has been around since the early 1980s and is intimately connected with the evolution of the ‘Metal genre’.

That said, the magazine industry operates in ‘volatile market’ and while the title Kerrang! has remained consistent, the magazine has changed ‘ownership’ three times in 28 years.


In targeting a ‘specific audience’ one of the key issues for Kerrang! is that of ‘media ownership’. Originally launched in 1981 (as a heavy metal ‘supplement’ to United Newspapers’ Sounds) the magazine was picked up by EMAP in 1991, eventually becoming the music divisions ‘hero brand’ of the ‘digital age’. However, in spite of its success, Kerrang! was sold to BAUER along with all other EMAPconsumer titles’ (Q, Mojo, FHM, Zoo and Empire etc)...

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