Media Organizations and Audience Gap


Much to my surprise, the frontpage story on Yahoo featured a new theater that will allow cell phone use during performances. An amped up version of the tweet seats we have been talking about all semester, the Tateuchi Center opening in Washingtonwill not only allow cell phone usage, but is installing Wifi throughout the theater to aid in people using their phones. The ploy is largely to attract young, hip Microsoft workers to attend the shows, as the Microsoft headquarters is located nearby.

None of this is new.What is interesting is the comment section. Few things fire me up like reading comments from Yahoo users. Normally derogatory, racist, and overly-conservative Yahoo users were unsurprisingly pissed off about the whole ordeal, some even calling for boycotts of the theater. While it is easy to assume that Yahoo Users are all old crotchety curmudgeons , my Facebook news feed suggests otherwise, as many of my friends are reading Yahoo stories as well. All of this suggests that while audiences are no longer behaving like audiences, they still think of themselves as an audience. Their media use has become so invisible, that when media managers (like those who made the call on cell phones at the theater) seek to compensate for their non-audience tendencies they complain because not acting like an audience  is rude.

While I applaud the Tateuchi center for their progressive approach regarding media, I’m a bit perplexed by the reaction of Yahoo users. As media managers, how do you give the audience what they really want, without upsetting the social order?

-Mike Lang


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