The German “Forum Media and Development” (Forum Medien und Entwicklung, FOME) will hold a three-day symposium on “Audience Research in Media Development: Is it Fo(r)ME?” in Bonn, Germany from November 5 to 7, 2014.
The meeting which will be held at the Gustav-Stresemann-Institut in Bonn provides media practitioners, development politics and the scientific community a platform for the exchange of experiences, research and further elaboration of concepts on media development.
The FOME symposium will present and discuss examples where audience research has been used to enhance the performance of media houses and development programmes. It aims to stimulate the debate on how audience research capacities in developing countries can be strengthened.
According to FOME, “Audience research is of crucial interest to all those involved in the media. Journalists, editors and producers need to match programming and coverage to their target audiences. Media owners need to convince advertisers that their respective media outlets will reach a specific audience, both in terms of size and composition. And advertisers and campaigners need information in order to select adequate channels to get their message across.”
FOME, however, notes that “international media assistance rarely pays attention to audience research as key to both improving media performance and strengthening financial sustainability,” adding that “In quite a number of developing countries reliable media usage data are hardly available, resulting in a lack of market transparency.”
Besides, it says, local media often lack knowledge or resources to commission audience research, or to conduct it themselves while few media development programmes have integrated audience research as part of their project planning, monitoring and evaluation cycles.
FOME is a network of institutions and individuals active in the field of media development cooperation. The members advocate for free speech and are convinced that free and independent media are essential for the development of democracies.