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Mag.a Daniela Heininger
The ORF Audience Talks 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 Talks is to evaluate the audience's perception of and satisfaction with ORF's offerings and to facilitate a dialog 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 program 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 will be recruited. The persons should be interested in the program pillar under investigation or in the topic (culture & religion, information, entertainment and sports) or in the media genre sought (TV, radio, online, teletext), quota according to age, gender, education, media use and the use of ORF offerings. The users of ORF's offerings have the opportunity to exchange their views in a preliminary discussion and then to get in touch with the people responsible for the program and give feedback on strengths and weaknesses. The dialog with the program 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 discussions. These are always divided into two phases. The first part comprises the group work in the small groups. The second part is the exchange with the ORF program managers - there the results of the group work are presented and discussed. An ORF moderator leads 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 the ORF offerings. During the pandemic, the preliminary groups as well as the discussion with the program 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 all events, we received very positive feedback in the follow-up survey. The audience discussions allow an interesting exchange with the ORF program managers, one has the opportunity to give the program managers one's 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 program managers.
From the respondents' point of view, ORF offers viewers/listeners a wide range of comprehensive and balanced reports and formats on the topics of information, education, culture and entertainment. In the course of the audience interviews, however, each and 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 of the audience interviews on ORF's ORF TVthek service, respondents mentioned that they would like to see longer access times for content from ORF TVthek. 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 is also suggested that more programs for children and young people be broadcast in Austrian. Especially in the areas of entertainment and culture, but also in the area of sports, the reference to Austria and the Austrian connotation 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 also like to receive regional contributions, formats and news. The contributions reflect the lifeworlds, 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 was able to set priorities with cabaret from Austria and thus contribute to distraction and diversion in difficult times. ORF information on Corona, reports and documentaries on the subject were experienced by most as reliable, credible and also very serious.
Compared to other sources of information, ORF gives the security of well-checked 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 like to use it emphasize the versatility of the 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 program managers - they also offer program managers, in particular, a direct exchange with users and their wishes and concerns.