Tuesday, 3 April 2007

[ 3. The Channel 4 Site | Skins ]

[ The Channel 4 Skins Section www.channel4.com/skins ]

The Skins section of Channel 4’s website is very different to the rest of the website. As it is supposed to be specifically directed at the target audience, the content is very colloquial and often personally addresses the audience, especially in the character profile pages. This makes the audience feel more friendly towards the characters as it seems as though the characters can open up to them.
Although some of the layout is different, the page still retains the menu at the top containing the different section of the website mentioned earlier. Some of the available features within the Skins section include synopses of past episodes, forums, unseen Skins episodes free to download, episodes available on 4oD [ 4 on Demand ] and most strikingly, a competition page to design Skins logos, films, character costumes and music.

[ In Detail ]
As you arrive at the site, you are immediately greeted by a splash page which specifically lists the content of the site and the certain age restrictions [ 18…oops ] and shows any one of about 8 promotional images and still looks stylised to the Skins website content. The age restriction seems innocent enough, although it could be argued that it also acts as a lure inside, as the perverse nature of the target audience, i.e. teenagers, draws them to look around. Inside, there are 9 links to various sections inside the mini-site. In a cunning pun, the skin [
] is always a modified version of a Logo Entry winning design. The competition was held a few weeks before the show went on air. The competition was open to everyone and served to get the audience interested in the show and participating before it went on air, to build up hype and give the audience a sense that they played a small part in the creation of the show. The standard of entry, however, may have put some people off entering as only the few with an esoteric knowledge of image, video and music editing software such as Abobe Photoshop or Adobe (Formerly Macromedia) Flash really stood a good chance of winning, thus cutting out a large proportion, though not all of the target audience. That said, it in turn raises awareness and interest in these sorts of technologies and new technology as a whole, aiding Channel 4 in other senses as those young filmmakers, for example may want to try their hand in another aspect of filmmaking and participate in FourDocs, etc. This is a good example of democratisation, interactivity, vertical integration and personalisation to a small extent. This also serves as online surveillance as Channel 4 can track the habits, taste and likes of their target audience and target them more accurately and with more precision. This incredible display of democratisation explains why Channel 4’s fans are becoming so loyal – they feel included. On top of this, there are forums which allow for fragmentation and online surveillance, links to MySpace which has become largely integral to targeting the younger generation, sign-ups for free stuff such as free new music downloads and unseen skins episodes, which add to the already existing TV-aired storyline.
The Skins site shows that Channel 4 is dedicated to keeping in touch with its loyal fanbase and likes to hear their ideas and take them on board. This lets the fans know that they are valued by Channel 4 and keeps them interested and devoted to Skins, if not the rest of Channel 4.

No comments: