In Search of a Customer : a Frame Analysis on the Audience Roles in the Editorial Managers Thinking
Läärä, Kaisa (2017)
Master's Degree Programme in Media Management
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The objective of this thesis is to increase the knowledge of the audience roles and implications the audience's expectations in regards to managerial thinking in Finnish daily newspapers' editorial offices. This study examines these audience roles in context of newspapers' business model, customer relationship management, value, and what effects they bear in the everyday work of managers in editorial offices working at the biggest daily newspapers ranked by the circulation figures in Finland. The starting point for this research has been the challenges that the newspaper industry is currently facing. The emergence of new technologies, disruptive forms of media, the ever-increasing competition over money, time and willingness to spend it are only a few examples of the issues. As a result, the business model is facing challenges. This study was conducted to examine how the expectations of the different roles given to the audience by the managers are taken into consideration by the media managers as a way to gain competitive advantage related to value chain and increasing the profit. In the theoretical framework of this thesis, it is argued that understanding better the roles of an audience and fulfilling the expectations and needs related to those roles could offer a way of achieving competitive advantage. The normative role of a newspaper and historic emphasis on other research disciplines inside the media research are taken into consideration when discussing the possible lack of customer orientation inside the editorial offices. The overall method of this thesis is a frame analysis implemented on the data gathered by interviewing, via semi-structured questionnaire, (N=11) media managers representing in total 4 companies; three of the biggest daily newspapers, ranked by their circulation, and one content-creating company owned by shareholders who are the biggest newspaper publishing companies in Finland. The findings of this study report that there is an ongoing shift from normative and product-centric approaches to more service- and customer-centric approaches. The concluding chapter will provide implications for media managers and suggestions for future research.
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