Eastenders vs. Top gear
One of the key elements of having a success television programme is the way you interact with your audience on screen, but also, most importantly off screen through social media, websites and events. If the audience really engages with your show and want to explore the content in more-depth then you need to ensure you have all three of the above connections. Today I have decided to contrast and compare two studio television shows that I believe are very successful to a broad age group, BBC Eastenders and BBC Topgear. According to BARB (Broadcasters Audience Research Board), Eastenders holds an audience of 25,754 people estimated each week on BBC1 alongside Top gear which holds an audience of 11,654 people estimated each week on BBC2.  The target audience is very broad for Eastenders as it is a mainstream television soap opera with a range of viewers from young generations sixteen plus through to elderly people. However, Top-gears target audience is mainly men from young ages of sixteen through to middle aged with a class of any background.


Now as both websites are owned and managed by BBC however, Top Gear has its own unique website with a lot more content in comparison to Eastenders which is listed under programmes on the main BBC website even though it has a larger active audience. As they are two programmes which hold a large audience, they need to ensure they have a lot of up to date content and devices.
Firstly, the Eastenders websites homepage design and colour scheme focusses on very dark colours with a lot of imagery, making it extremely busy however, the content the website is all relevant. The business of the images surrounding the breakdown of elements are representing the soon to return characters advertising the importance of their huge comeback. This has been done to attract the audience members back to the show, who may have stopped watching due to the departure of these characters, ‘The Mitchell’ family. The dark colours and the images of the character ‘Peggy Mitchell’ and her head from the past decades with blank expressions presents the tone that the comeback will be dramatic, it presents that vibe to the audience through this chosen style.
In the top left of the website is the logo of Eastenders establishing that this website is in fact for this particular show with the channel name above and the channel number; this could be used for new fans who are seeking to find the show on their televisions at home. Under the heading, the website has all the relevant information for a returning viewer or a new-comer; home, episodes, previews and catch-ups, characters, latest news, back-stage, games and soap factory. 
On the home-page, there is also a few teasers for the upcoming shows. The catch up of the previous episode and also the advertisement for the one airing that day. This is good as viewers who take a look at the website maybe at all different parts of the show. A bonus is the fact there is an option to purchase the show also, so you have your own copies.  Every episode is interactive as you can access them on any device tablets; smartphones, laptops and computers, wherever you are. 


The Top gear website seems pretty contrasting with the Eastenders as it is very clear that the website is predominantly masculine through its appearance, speaking out to their target audience most likely males. This is shown through the colour scheme of blacks, whites and yellow in the style of racing cars. It appears much more masculine in the colouring and tone with this style. The header is in the style of a racing car with the black and white tiles. Under the heading, the website has all the relevant information for a returning viewer or a new-comer; home, news, reviews, videos, the show, shop, their Bejing motor show and hot hatch.

On the other hand, Top-gear website is a lot bolder than the Eastenders one, each spaced is filled with the latest cars and interviews with a range of people interested in cars or selling cars. I personally find the website very distracting and I would not return to it due to the nature of it being so busy and full of content that does not interest me or call out to other viewers. The font is also very bold and simple and not pink, as in the Eastenders one. The Top-gear website design is in blocks so it is easy to find what you are looking for. Around the Top-gear logo is a racing wheel sign to reflect the fact it is a racing car programme whereas Eastenders is just in block capitals, simple but strong and clear.  The mention of the notion of ‘fast cars’ also speaks out the male gender, which in the modern century we are currently living can be seen as subverted. On the homepage, the viewer can shop for the cars they present and advertise on their television show, with direct links to reliable sources. 


 The Top-gear website overall keeps the audiences attention through their masculine colouring scheme and the updated cars relating to the show. However, I feel the website is too male orientated and would be more successful if the design spoke out to females too, who may also be interested in cars. The presenters, all being male, also promotes the fact the programme is a key male show. The content of the Top-gear website is very thorougher but it has not got much engagement with the viewer and fans unlike Eastenders. They need to have more striking social media content so the viewers and fans can get in content more easily with the presenters, the production crew and the writers if necessary. The social media tabs are directly at the top of the page so the viewer can access them quickly however, it is not easy to see them. They need to be clearer for the viewers so they can interact easily and stayed entertained. 

In comparison, in order to interact with their audience, Eastenders, have a range of elements encouraging the viewers and fans to be active with the programme. The most commonly used is social media where you can connect with the actors, the crew, the fans etc via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram all positioned at the bottom of the website. There is also a twitter handle on the homepage, bottom right, where you can scroll through the latest news and tweets without having to go to the main Twitter website. The website also offers a range of games for the viewers where they can interact with the characters of the shows, create their own stories, dress their favourite characters up and colour them in. 

Overall, I feel the Eastenders website is very well designed, it has everything the audience needs, it is full of a range of entertainment and it also offers every access to communicate with the producers, actors and the show via social media. To improve the website, the only thing I could suggest is that the background is a very dark, it might be more appealing if the website had a paler colour scheme. In comparison, the top-gear website is very chaotic, it is messy and not user friendly. The overwhelming amount of car images is of putting and not clear enough to viewers. It is hard to see where I can access the episodes of the show, it is hard to see where I can get involved with the show and the website overall is very complicated. The social media icons are not clear and I dislike the lay-out and I would not return to this website again.

Copyright © 2016 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. 
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BBC (2016c) ‘EastEnders – BBC One’ [online] available from <http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006m86d&gt; [Accessed: 16 April 2016]
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Rix, J. (2016) Top gear. Available at: http://www.topgear.com [Accessed: 16 April 2016].
Mathivanan, R. (2013) What makes a good Website. Available at: https://www.yola.com/blog/what-makes-a-good-website/ [Accessed: 16 April 2016].
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