This would mean that its audience are socially diverse, open-minded, and slightly merciless. This is reflected by the increasing diversity of housemates (i. e. tourettes sufferer Pete), the increasingly shocking events taking place and the vindictive and merciless competitiveness of the programme. Big Brother is the perfect example of cultivation theory, that is, through repeated exposure to former taboo subjects and issues the audience has become desensitised and almost view such issues as “normal” or acceptable.
This is one reason why Big Brother has become one of the phenomenon’s of the 21st century; because our society has become so much more diverse and accepting Big Brother is allowed to flourish where as if it had been shown during the 1950s for example, it would have been met with disgust and uproar. Even today Big Brother often stirs up controversy but in an era in which controversy is almost the norm, it is just something to read about in newspapers, and perhaps argue about with friends.
Another important consideration is Big Brother’s target audience which is extremely diverse; its primary audience is 18 to 35 year olds, of both genders. This is reflected by the housemates who fit into this category themselves, which is important in order for the audience to be able to relate to the them. I would consider the target lifestyle to be mainly aspirers. This is because Big Brother is essentially a shortcut to fame, with only a very select few making it onto the programme. Therefore the people watching Big Brother aspire to the housemates an the supposed fame that awaits them.
I also believe that Big Brother appeals to explorers due to the fact that it is such a revolutionary show. I t offers something that no other genre offers, which satisfies explorers want for new experiences. As for the Uses and Gratifications theory, Big Brother offers its audience a form of escapism, social identify, and a reflection of social relationships. The audience find an escape from their own problems and worries through the exaggerated and dramatised ones of the Big Brother housemates.
It is also an extremely unlikely situation, giving its audience a temporary escape from reality. Due to the fact that Big Brother is based on social interaction of the housemates it is a reflection of social relationships. Much of the public can relate to the relationships between characters, e. g. the romance between Grace and Mikey. These relationships often reflect the audience’s own social relationships making it interesting and often informative viewing.
The diversity of the Big Brother house ensures that it is extremely likely that there is at least one character in the house that the audience can relate and feel a connection to. This social identity is an important factor, as everyone wants to feel that they can relate to another person or group; the need for acceptance is a key part of human nature. Big Brother recognise this need and addresses it with its uniquely diverse household. The ideology promoted by Big Brother is a shallow one, with the importance of fame, popularity, and winning being either embedded or promoted by the housemates.
It implies that society is based on competition, and that personal relationships can be used as a tool to get what you want. These ideologies have prompted much criticism from the media. However, the institution behind Big Brother, Endamol, will continue with its controversial winning formula so long as it keeps audience figures up. This is because Endamol is a major commercial institution meaning that its main priority is profit. It is behind many other successful TV productions such as Desperate Housewives and Lost.
The popularity of Big Brother has resulted in it branching off into a mini-subculture with supporting programmes such as “Big Brother’s Big Mouth”, “Big Brother’s Little Brother” and “Diary Room Uncut”. It has even got its very own column or page in most tabloid newspapers dedicated the happenings inside the Big Brother house. This reflects the amazing popularity and influence Big Brother holds in today’s society, the key to its success? It is a reflection of society and we as a race are constantly trying to analyse and explain our own behaviour, Big Brother is essentially a glass cage in which we can curiously peer.