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Mag.a Daniela Heininger
The ORF Audience Panels take place three times a year and are a qualitative, non-representative survey of satisfaction
and quality perception of ORF offerings. The goal of the Audience Panels is to evaluate the audience's perception of and satisfaction with ORF's offerings and to facilitate a dialogue with those responsible for programming. In contrast to quantitative methods, the participants are given the opportunity to express their personal, individual wishes and suggestions, and to present their strengths and weaknesses, which are discussed in the group.
In terms of content, the audience interviews focus on user satisfaction
with ORF's offerings in one of the following programme pillars: Information
(including science, education, service, life support), Entertainment, Culture &
Religion and Sports - in each case by media genre, such as TV, radio, online and
TELETEXT. Users of ORF services who have a corresponding focus of interest
are invited to participate. People between the ages of 18 and 70 are recruited.
They should be interested in the programme pillar under investigation or
in the topic (Culture & Religion, Information, Entertainment, and Sports) or in
the media genre sought (TV, radio, online, teletext), and are chosen according
to age, gender, education, media use and use of ORF offerings. The users of
ORF's offerings can exchange their views in a preliminary discussion and then
get in touch with the people responsible for the programme and give feedback
on strengths and weaknesses. The dialogue with the programme managers
often provides interesting insights for the participants, who can obtain exciting
background information, learn about planned projects or find out about the
legal requirements to which ORF is subject.
During the last three years, we at SENSOR MARKTFORSCHUNG have
conducted the Audience Panels These are always divided into two phases.
The first part comprises the group work in small groups. The second part is
the exchange with ORF programme managers - there the results of the group
work are presented and discussed. An ORF presenter guides us through the
evening. In the small group, the participants can get to know each other, exchange
ideas, and work out the strengths and weaknesses of ORF offerings.
During the pandemic, the preliminary groups as well as the discussion with
the programme managers took place online. If it was possible, also in person
or directly in an ORF regional studio. Experience shows that the audience discussions are generally very popular with the participants. After those talks, we
received very positive feedback in the follow-up survey. The audience discussions
allow an interesting exchange with the ORF programme managers, one
can give the programme managers personal feedback, one can ask questions
and one also has the opportunity to express open wishes. The participants were
pleased that criticism and suggestions were received positively and always
very appreciatively by the programme managers. From the respondents' point of view, ORF offers its viewers/listeners a wide range of comprehensive and balanced reports and formats on the topics of Information, Education, Culture and Entertainment. During the audience interviews, however, every respondent has the opportunity to express individual wishes and suggestions. In the process, recurring themes and wishes of the interviewees also emerged. For example, in almost all the audience interviews on ORF's TVthek service, respondents mentioned that they would like to see longer access times for content from ORF TVthek (the ORF media library).
In addition, many would like to see simpler search functions or suggestions for
programs based on viewing habits. In the area of TV, it was frequently emphasized
in the audience discussions that it is very important to the users of ORF
offerings that the Austrian language is maintained and preserved - therefore,
ORF's own productions with actors from Austria are particularly appreciated. It
was also suggested that more programs for children and young people should
be broadcast using Austrian language. Especially in the areas of entertainment
and culture, but also in sports, the reference to Austria and an Austrian nuance
are very important to the users of ORF offerings. ORF's regional studios and
regional radio stations are often associated with many emotional aspects and
proximity to the country and its people. People identify with the region and like
to receive regional contributions, formats, and news. The contributions reflect
the habitats, needs and emotions of the users and are thus identity-forming.
During the pandemic and afterwards, there was a lot of praise from the participants
that the ORF focused on cabaret from Austria and thus contributed
to distraction and diversion in difficult times. ORF information about the coronavirus, reports and documentaries on the subject were experienced by most
as reliable, credible, and very serious.
Compared to other sources of information, people trust ORF to provide wellchecked
content. One does not have to be afraid of "fake news". In the audience
discussions, it was suggested that ORF should increasingly address young
people with contributions and thus build a closer bond. Young presenters are
important for this, but also a modern online presence and a clear presence on
social media. In conversations with the public, ORF TELETEXT is experienced
as familiar, somewhat "retro" in design, but likeable. People who regularly use
ORF emphasize the versatility of its contributions and appreciate the possibility
of obtaining information quickly. All in all, ORF's audience interviews are
not only a good opportunity for users of ORF's services to get into personal
contact with programme managers - they also offer programme managers a
direct exchange with users and their wishes and concerns.