This is the class blog for Denison University's Communication 315-01: The Business of Media.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Audience Interactivity- Is it necessary?
I chose the program “America’s Next Great Restaurant” in order to study the idea of interactivity in reality TV.The show’s format follows 21 contestants, from across the US, who think that they have the next new and innovative idea for a restaurant in the US.There are 4 “investors” that act as the judges, mentors, and the source of funding for the winning restaurant.The winner is given the opportunity to launch their idea for the next new restaurant chain.After reading the Grindstaff article, it is evident that reality shows with interactivity experience success because the audience feels involved, sometimes to the point that they are considered a producer.This includes voting, online interactivity with blogs, surveys, and chat groups, and the opportunity for audience members to voice their opinion whether in a studio or online.In the case of “America’s Next Great Restaurant” the audience is not involved in the actual voting off process but they are able to interact on the show’s page on the NBC website.On the main page for the show there is a “What Do You Think?” poll that allows the audience to voice their opinion on what they want for the next great restaurant.Digging deeper into the website there is a community section.This offers the audience a chance to enter a contest to win a meal at the winning restaurant, connect with the show on Facebook, Twitter, and message boards, and a link to the “America’s Next Great Restaurant” blog.What I found to be the most creative form of interactivity was the implementation of a challenge for the audience to participate it.The audience is given the opportunity to become a restaurant critic and they “are awarded points for participation and interaction” (NBC website).For example, if a “critic” followed the show on Twitter they would receive 50 points.These are all chances for the audience to become further connected to their show which will result in the audience feeling as if they have a voice.But have they worked?
In my opinion, the interactivity for the audience in the case of “America’s Next Great Restaurant” does not impact the actual production in any major way.Unlike shows in which the audience makes the decision, “America’s Next Great Restaurant” relies on the judges to make the ultimate decision.The decision is not in the hands of America.The audience does not have the power to affect the outcome of the show and this is something that production companies favor.The only regulation that needs to occur is on the social media sites offered by NBC.After searching through the message boards, blogs, Facebook and Twitter, it seems that the audience members who actually watched the show received it well.But I came to quickly find out that there will be no “America’s Next Great Restaurant 2”.The restaurant that was started from the first season has closed due to lack of interest.Does this have something to do with the shows minimal interactivity? I am looking forward to asking Mr. Homlish his opinions on this show
1. How did you get into this industry? It is a difficult industry to break into and therefore were you forced start from the bottom and work your way up?
2. Do you believe that audience interactivity is an important component to the success of a reality TV show? Did America's Next Great Restaurant" need more
3. How do you feel about the accusations that reality TV is not actually real and that it goes through an extensive editing process?