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It takes two to tango, but it only takes one to televise it.

Grunig & Hunt defined four different models of PR Communication, and every company falls into one of them. (Here’s a brush up on them if you’re having trouble remembering your Intro to PR days). Well, most companies will tell you that they believe they run a two-way symmetric model, but in reality, the best most companies can hope for is the two-way asymmetric model. ABC is no different.

Try as they might, there public is far too large to truly ever have symmetrical communication taking place. very few individuals can truly claim to represent the whole, and so what one member wants, there are probably thousands who don’t want it, and vice versa.

They fall under the two-way asymmetric model because while they can’t possibly listen to everyone, they do actively do research into what their customers want via focus groups and viewer data. They can determine who is watching what, and they can then determine the why. Focus groups help to more closely narrow down what is working and what is not. But ultimately what matters to ABC is which shows will get the ratings, and which shows will not. As a result, they actively listen to their viewers desires, but they often prefer to change the publics’ attitudes rather than change a multi-million dollar show.

ABC knows that the people want to see Danny Bonnaduce dance, because the ratings and the focus groups say so, but they aren’t going to change the format of the show to put him and Johnny Fairplay as partners just because a few fan emails say they’d like to see it.