CHAPTER 1: THE PROPOSAL
1. Proposed Title
The emotional response evoked in the female audience during the viewing of The Bold and the Beautiful.
2. Introductions and Orientation
The study of people's interests in soap operas and their emotional link to them has been a long-standing fascination. Viewers across the globe, tune in daily to the likes of soap operas, such as The Bold and the Beautiful. According to studies done on soap operas by Pitout (2001: 348) the interwoven storylines "force" viewers to keep on watching to prevent them from missing out on that ever crucial scene, that can drastically change the entire story line. According to the recent publication of Screen Africa (2004:43) on the Audience Ratings (AR) of the South African television channels SABC 1,2 and 3 as well as M-NET, all of the highest-ranking programmes are soap operas and the highest ranking foreign programmes are Days of our lives and The Bold and the Beautiful. The AR for The Bold and the Beautiful for December 2003 was 12.29. It states that one rating point of all viewers represents approximately 145590 viewers.
The audiences are a crucial part in determining the success of a particular series. Since the study of audiences began, there have been many speculations regarding the influence of the media over its audience. According to Pitout (2001: 243), " In the early days of audience effects research there was the tendency to treat the media as "all-powerful" in determining the way audiences think and act". Early audience research was based on the perception that the audiences are passive receivers of the mass media message. This was supported by the hypodermic needle theory. However, this theory was developed for the audience analysis for radio and does not apply to television. As the research progressed, the two-step flow theory was developed in the 1950's. J.T Klapper (1960) pointed out in Fourie's chapter on The Effects of Mass Communication (Fourie, 2001: 295), that the audiences of the mass media, television are passive receivers, which can be influenced, but are also capable of thinking for themselves. Therefore they are selectively influenced. In the resent theories on audiences such as the reception theory, states that the audiences are actively involved in the reception of messages. (Pitout, 2001: 245).
The creative field of Audio Visual is a vast one. Within this field, there are different types of styles or chapters, known as genres, by which the television programme or film can be identified. According to Karam (2001: 459) "films or television programmes that belong to the same genre have certain typical features in common." She further states, "these features may relate to the subject matter, the setting, or even the style of performance. The audience will therefore have certain expectations about a film or programme, according to its genre."
For the purpose of this research proposal, the television genre of soap operas will form the basis upon which research shall be done. According to the Oxford English Dictionary (1995: 1127) a soap opera can be defined as a "television or radio drama with continuing episodes about the events or problems in the daily lives of the same group of characters."
The audiences of such genres get intensely involved in the story lines and more than often form imaginary relationships with the characters. This leads to a strong emotional bond with the particular soap opera. For the purpose of this study the long running American soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful, shall be the core for the study.
According to the CBS website, The Bold and the Beautiful is the longest running television show of the network. It first aired on the 23 March 1987. It is produced by Bell-Phillip Television Productions Inc. and still has four of its original cast members. It has an estimated 450 million viewers and is broadcast in 98 countries across the globe.
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