The media industry is experiencing enormous transformation as new digital trends emerge. With the vast opportunities that the digital space offers, media owners and content producers must deliberately adapt to how the audience consumes content. EAST Site’s Moses Mutente explains why audience research is critical and introduces us to one Ugandan innovator who created an app for audience research.

One of the most important things for the media is understanding the market they serve.

Having this knowledge is likely to positively reward the marketing department and fundraising activities in the media.

It is evident that the better you know your target market the better advertisement you are likely to have for your audience.

A successful media enterprise doesn’t revolve only around how good the content is but how satisfied your audience is with what you produce. One can only achieve this via thorough audience research.

Importance of regular audience research

Often, audience research is confused with market research. The main difference between the two is that audience research is conducted on specific audience (people) segments to obtain information about them. On the other hand, market research is conducted to gather information about the market within which the product or service aimed at the audience operates.

Like any other business, the media has to accept that not everyone is a part of their audience. Therefore, conducting audience research is a must-do.

The audience is the media’s capital

Audiences are the means of media growth and viability. But, it’s not enough to have listeners. The media needs to have a profound knowledge of who they serve.

Content creators must know what works best for their audience and what they want to hear, watch, and engage with on social media.

Through audience research, the media gets the chance to learn how to produce content and help restructure content from program-audience oriented to audience-program-oriented form of broadcasting.

This helps the media to know its audience by their education level, gender distribution and ethnic background, which is valuable in allocating the program’s sponsors and making suitable adverts to the listeners.

Uganda’s DIGIKYAR App seeks to revolutionise audience research

One local Ugandan innovator has created a user-friendly app that the media houses can easily adopt for audience research.

The DIGIKYAR App has a good presentation mode, with a simple way to get feedback on what listeners want.

The DIGIKYAR App is specifically designed for radio stations in Uganda. However, those across East Africa can also utilise it.

It could also prove helpful to data collectors, business partners and advertising companies.

Content creators can use the data collected by the app to improve strategies to attract an audience, identify gaps in programming, and provide room for content improvement while helping sales and marketing teams within the media.

The app is a free-to-use tool for media organisations. It has been developed and tested based on data collected from 10 community radio stations in Uganda as part of a joint project between Radio Apac Ltd Uganda and DW Akademie – German’s leading organisation for international media development.

If properly utilised, DIGIKYAR App could help rural, small and medium media houses across East Africa reap the following benefits, among other things:

  • Audience understanding: Conducting audience research using DIGIKYAR App will enable a media house to understand their audience better, which will help them connect with their users and spur their media to grow. Audience research findings could allow an organisation to be customer-centric rather than product-led.
  • Improving decision making: Audience research can help media houses make meaningful and strategic decisions, especially on how best to meet their audience needs or decide who to focus on, how to reach them, or what to offer them.
  • Proving marketing hypotheses: It can also help provide evidence for marketing claims that you may want to make but (as yet) have no evidence to support. Usually, media owners want to attract advertisers to their medium. Thus it helps to have data showing their audience’s size, demographics, and interests. This information should typically come from research; now, DIGIKYAR can serve that purpose.
  • Helps save money: This is important for rural and small media houses that cannot afford to pay for expensive audience research reports. DIGIKYAR could help media houses save money since it provides free-to-use access to high technology.

About the Author

Author ProfileMoses Mutente
The author is a project management professional turned journalist who has worked at the Africa Media Group Limited for five years as a Radio and TV producer and presenter. He’s also had stints at Magic FM in Dar es Salaam. He’s currently working as a Project Officer – Media Development at DW Akademie under the Media Futures East Africa Project.

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