1 School of Communication and Culture - Media Studies, School of Communication and Culture, Arts, Aarhus University2 School of Communication and Culture - Media Studies, School of Communication and Culture, Arts, Aarhus University
This paper will discuss the methodology and present the preliminary findings of the Danish part of a trans-national, comparative audience study of the musical talent show genre undertaken in Denmark, Finland, Germany and Great Britain in Spring 2013. Within the international business model of format adaptation, the musical talent show genre has been particularly successful in crossing cultural borders. Formats such as Idols, X Factor and Voice have sold to a large variety of countries, covering all continents. Such global reach inevitably raises the question of the genre’s audience appeal; to what degree its reach has to do with a universal appeal inherent in the genre and/or the innovative character of individual formats, and to what degree its global success is due to local broadcasters’ ability to successfully adapt the formats to local audience tastes. A consensus has developed that television formats to a considerable degree are adapted according to national audiences and, hence, national cultural tastes. And in our research approach, we do recognize that musical talent shows appear to contribute to ‘imagining the nation’ (Anderson 1983), often even mentioning the nation in the title. However, we also take into account that the national perspective needs to be considered critically. First, there are other factors but national culture that determine a local adaptation such as subnational target groups, channel identity, financing or chance incidents. Secondly, it has rightly been argued that within any national television market, especially in the post-broadcast era, a multiplicity of publics co-exists. The aim of the focus groups is therefore to shed light on the complexity of the communal viewing experience, real and imagined, national, sub-national and transnational; of identification, and of the meaning that viewers take from the musical talent show genre.