Back in 2003-2004 when I first started doing fan studies scholarship, I began to work with written texts, fan fictions, not so much from a traditional literary analytical viewpoint.
One of the early projects was exploring the issue of fans who loved reading dark/torture/grim fics (as one person said, hurt but no comfort!).
I was working in LOTR fandom at the time, and while my analysis of two fics (one of which wasn't actually totally dark because there was redemption in the next novel) finally did get published, the work I did on what readers of darkfics enjoyed reading/viewing outside fandom had to be cut (I do have a bad habit of shoving everything including the kitchen sink into an essay though I'm getting better at focusing).
That publication wasn't until 2009: "Thrusts in the Dark: Slashers' Queer Practices." Extrapolation. Volume 50, Number 3. Fall 2009. 463-483.
But I had a lot of stuff I had to cut about genre preferences, and in the context of some current discussions (do women read epic fantasy, shock), I thought it might be interesting to post the cut stuff. Someday, if I can get together with a statistician and a reception theorists, it might be fun to do a real survey (the N on this one is so low it's meaningless in any statistical sense--but it did show some interesting hints that could be developed in a much larger survey that would move beyond a limited self-selected audience).
The shocker to me in the research then was that I could find very little research on the genre preferences of adult readers/viewers (I know from ongoing discussions that while everybody believes only guys read sf back in ye olden days and sometimes today, that there's little actual proof of it--the sf mags did surveys of subscribers, but of course my father subscribed to the mags and I read them, so those surveys are fairly useless in any meaningful sense either). Maybe there's more stuff out there--I'd assume publishers did marketing surveys? But I searched the business academic databases and couldn't find anything.
Here is the one article I found that I could use: "Favorite Films and Film Genres as a Function of Race, Age and Gender." Stuart Fischoff, Joe Antonio, Diane Lewis. Journal of Media Psychology. 3.1 (Winter 1998). http://www.calstatela.edu/faculty/sfisscho/media3.html
And here are the links to the posts on DW that include my brief discussion, the data, and my survey (based on Fischoff).
Sorry, most were too big to crosspost to LJ! And the tables look crummy--but I'm in a bit of a rush to just slapped them in. If you'd like doc files, drop me an email at Robin_Reid AT tamu-commerce.edu
GENRE PREFERENCES w/some tables