Target Audiences to which the Networks Reach
To a network operator providing distribution services for a media source, there is understandably a finite boundary at the edge of their network - particularly when dealing with live linear content. There has to be some synchronicity of participation, whereby an end user is connected to the network and the data flows from the source to the user in a continuous manner, much as I discussed in Section 2.1.1.
Although a user may have its receiver turned on, we can never be sure that the user is listening. Often much is made of how many TV sets receive an advert, but the reality is that most users will have muted their TVs, and perhaps headed to the kitchen to make a snack rather than watch the advert. And for that reason, over and above the push of content, it is important to understand that the audience needs to engage in the adverts, to watch the screen and listen to the advert's audio, and to digest the content before the advert has any chance of interesting the user in the product or service being advertised. The actual audience is smaller than the intended audience.
The typical Audiences that Demand Content from Networks
Starting at the other end, and taking a user centric view of the distribution chain, the audience may actively seek the content by tuning into the TV broadcast or selecting the on-demand film to play. These situations are solid success cases for the relationship between the media source, the distribution network, and the engagement of the target audience. However, when the TV is in a family front room, or a public place, the person who has chosen the content may be only one part of the group of people watching the TV. The rest of this audience may be disinterested, although they may become captivated by some of the content, and thus become engaged. So in this instance the actual audience will be wider than the intended audience.