Your audience has always been in control of your messaging, but now they are equipped with the digital tools to demand everything be completely on their terms.  Understanding your audience, the way they speak, the terms they use and places they like to interact with each other is as important as a solid story structure.  Two key factors to remember about audience in the 360 story environment: (1) Every audience is different and (2) Audiences will continue to fragment across multiple platforms.  Here are three main types of audience today:

1. Passive, lean back audience

2. Engaged, audience

3. Active, lean forward audience

The traditional TV viewer is considered part of the passive “lean back” audience, as they enjoy a great idea or story, but don’t feel compelled to participate past the emotional involvement of the story.  The engaged audience will be watching and following along on a related website or checking Twitter and Facebook for related conversations.  The active “lean forward” audience (think LOST) is hungry for the opportunity to co-create your story.  They are participating with other fans, uploading content and providing your story with additional distribution.  In the 360 story environment it’s about audience loyalty. If you don’t supply your rabid fans with interactive tools like widgets, websites, mobile applications, and games, they will look elsewhere.  One of the great opportunities, with respect to the lean forward audience, is the ability to test different 360 storytelling elements to see what resonates with the fans.  Tomorrow we’ll look at the 360 FOCUS GROUP and how you can harness the power of your fans and deliver exactly what they need and want.