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TV chases youth market

From the website From Wireless To Web.
Video clip synopsis – Youth has become a new target audience for television programmers.
Year of production - 2005
Duration - 1min 20sec
Tags - audiences, consumers, culture, media production, popular culture, television, television programs, youth, see all tags


TV chases youth market

For copyright reasons this clip is not available as a download.

About the Video Clip


The video clip Totally Wild is from the TV series Totally Wild and is used courtesy of Network Ten.

Liz Jacka is an Author and Professor in Communications Studies for the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences at the University of Technology Sydney. You can view her full biography at From Wireless to Web.

The website is a selective history of broadcast media in Australia. Decade by decade, from radio and newsreels to TV and the internet, this history shows how the Australian broadcast media developed and shaped the way Australians see themselves.

From Wireless to Web is a Film Australia production in association with Roar Film.

Curriculum Focus


Students will learn:

  • that audience demographics and ratings influence the development of youth-oriented television programming
  • to analyse and critique an example of youth television (Totally Wild)
  • to create a poster display, with written commentary, of a youth program
  • to draft, edit and proofread a creative work of fiction about participating in a youth program.

Reading Standard: students view imaginative, and persuasive texts that explore ideas and information related to challenging topics, themes and issues. They identify the ideas, themes and issues explored in these texts, and provide supporting evidence to justify their interpretations. They infer meanings and messages in texts.

Writing Standard: students produce texts for a variety of purposes, including speculating hypothesising, persuading and reflecting. They write arguments that state and justify a personal viewpoint. Students improve the accuracy and readability of their writing. They edit their writing for clarity, coherence and consistency of style, and proofread and correct spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors.

Speaking and Listening Standard: students express creative and analytical responses to texts, themes and issues. They critically evaluate the spoken language of others, and select, prepare and present spoken texts for specific audiences and purposes. They identify key ideas and take notes.

The activities in this digital resource are relevant to the Interdisciplinary Learning strands of Level 5 Communications (Listening, Viewing and Responding standard; Presenting Standard), and Thinking Processes (Reasoning, Processing and Inquiry standard; Creativity standard).

The activities are also relevant to the Physical, Personal and Social Learning strand of Level 5 Interpersonal Development (Building Social Relationships standard; Working in Teams standard), and Personal Learning (The Individual Learner standard; Managing Personal Learning standard).

This material is an extract. Teachers and Students should consult the Victoria Curriculum and Assessment Authority website for more information.

Background Information


During the 1990s Network Ten took a strategic decision to capture the 16 to 39 year olds because they were regarded as an ‘emerging lucrative demographic’ – in other words, because today’s young people would be the spenders of tomorrow.

Since declaring their bid for the youth of the nation, Ten has pumped out a string of high-rating locally produced programs targeting young people and ‘adultescents’ including Rove Live, Good News Week, X-Factor, Popstars, Secret Life of Us, White Collar Blue, Australian Idol, Neighbours, SkitHouse and Big Brother, as well as screening imported programs with youth appeal like Everybody Loves Raymond, The Simpsons, Charmed and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.

Ten’s aggressive youth-oriented strategy paid off. In 2000 Network Ten was the lowest-rating commercial network overall but the most profitable, and since then Ten has achieved the highest ratings among under 40s groups for three consecutive years.

Good News Week (GNW) – a news and current affairs game show developed by the ABC – shifted to Ten in 1999. The program was extended from 30 to 90 minutes, with extra games, live music and guest appearances by Flacco and the Sandman. Speaking of youth audiences and GNW’s transition from ABC to Ten, GNW celebrity contestant Julie McCrossin said, “Channel 10’s audience is predominantly under 30 and from a less educated and diverse socio-economic background. With really young audiences if you mention the word Whitlam they think you are referring to a band. They don’t know about World Wars 1 and 2, so your cultural, historical and political reference points, out of which you may bounce a remark or comment from the news, are reduced. It wasn’t a question of dumbing down, it was a question of playing to the audience we had.” (Cunningham & Turner)

Classroom Activities

  1. Getting started
    In class view the interview clip with Liz Jacka about Channel Ten’s ‘younger demographic’, and the clip from Totally Wild, then discuss and make notes on the following:
    1. Define the term ‘demographic’
    2. Which programs do you enjoy watching most on television, and why? Do they fit into the type of demographic Liz Jacka talks about?
  2. Writing about the Totally Wild clip
    View the Totally Wild clip carefully. As you can see, it presents only the opening titles to the program, and is made up of graphics, or visual effects, movement, music and other sounds.
    Examining the graphics, movement and sound, write a description in about 100 words of what you think the clip tells us about the rest of Totally Wild, the content it might include, and the viewing audience it is aiming at. For example, is it designed to attract older adults or not? How can you tell? You should back up your comments with evidence from the clip.
  3. Producing a poster display
    In pairs, plan and produce a poster display about your favourite TV program either for teenagers, or — if you are not yet a teenager — for your age group. Include in your presentation:
    1. whether it’s Australian or not
    2. whether aimed mainly at males or females
    3. its difference from other programs for the same age group
    4. the time screened
    5. whether screened on commercial TV or not — if so, include a listing of advertisements shown, and the “demographic” they are aimed at.
  4. I’m a star — not!
    Draft, edit, proofread and correct a short story about someone of your age who is offered a role as an actor in a TV program for young teenagers.

Further Resources


Go to From Wireless to Web for more about the history of broadcast media in Australia.

Go to Totally Wild

Go to Jason Harty, Pay TV works hard to attract young viewers, B&T, 11 March 2002

Go to Sharon Beder, Marketing to Children, A Community View, Caring for Children in the Media Age, Papers from a national conference, edited by John Squires and Tracy Newlands, New College Institute for Values Research, Sydney, 1998, pp. 101–111.