MPR News  for Headlines, Weather, and Stories Dale Connelly Reporting Home
Dale Connelly Reporting
Dale Connelly Reporting
Return to Dale Connelly Reporting show index

There's more from Dale Connelly at The Morning Show


by Dale Connelly, 4/14/00

Dc: This is DCR, news meant for amusement. Marketing experts have discovered there's a difference in regional tastes when it comes to entertainment. And increasingly those companies offering MASS entertainment, such as film makers and TV networks, are fragmenting their products to reach an audience with very specific interests.
With me is Delta Badhand, vice president for niche marketing with Meddle & Pry. Thanks for coming in. Are the days of mass communication over?

Delta: I don't think network TV will ever be what it once was.

Dc: Except in programming.

Delta: Yes, all the old programs are back, bless them. But fewer people watch network TV. And as the science of marketing has become more sophisticated, we've discovered that audiences have very definite preferences that you can track by age, by gender, race, education, location, religion … (breath) … height, weight, eye color, fingernail length …

Dc: I get the idea.

Delta: So we are able to target our movies, our books, our music. We can show the audiences we respect their taste by giving them exactly … and I mean EXACTLY … what they want!

Dc: That's terrific.

Delta: For instance, in film, we find that sappy feel-good fundamentalist fifties sit-com pablum works well in the south and east, while frantic, edgy, violent, obscenity laced filth has an audience in the New York to Boston corridor.
Midwest audiences crave stupid, empty romantic comedies with pretty people in tight clothes, and out west they prefer mindless preening by self absorbed nitwits, as long as there are plenty of special effects.

Dc: You know … People take their entertainment choices … pretty personally. You should be careful how you describe …

Delta: (interrupts) Not all. Not all people do. In the south west … Texas to Arizona, yes. Not in Hawaii. Yes in Maine and New Hampshire. The rest of the nation … not really.

Dc: You can narrow it down to specific states?

Delta: States? We can narrow it down to cities! Neighborhoods!

Dc: Really?

Delta: As our technology improves … we are able to discern more subtle differences, which helps us target our marketing even more exactly. For instance … on one particular street in Toledo we know there's a high interest in vacuous melodramatic tripe. But I can also tell you house by house whether they would pay for a sickeningly sweet Prince Charming sort of melodramatic tripe, or a Lassie Come Home sort of melodramatic tripe.

Dc: Wow. So the mass audience really IS becoming fragmented.

Delta: (confidentially) We suspect that every single individual person is different from every other person.

Dc: Incredible.

Delta: We're just waiting for the data to show it.

Dc: Then the audience would be as fragmented as it can be.

Delta: No, not at all. The human genome is being unlocked, and it contains the code for every personal trait and tendency.
Once we can read that … THEN we'll market to conflicting preferences within one's own self. They guy who watches wrestling and the guy who cries at The Bridges of Madison County … they're one guy, one body, but two separate markets. Of course we want them both to buy our products.

Dc: Good luck.

Delta: It's not luck. It's a combination of science, and human weakness.

Dc: Marketing expert Delta Badhand of Meddle&Pry.

Dale Connelly Reporting Home


Minnesota Public Radio Home     Search     Email  
© Copyright 2000 | Terms of Use  |  Privacy