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Audiences Effects 1

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  • 1. AUDIENCES Key Concepts in Media- Audiences Theories Part 1
  • 2. EFFECTS…
    • We’ve now looked over demographics and understand how different people UNDERSTAND media texts and how Producers CONSTRUCT them.
    • But what “effect” does Media have on it’s audience? …
    • The concept of Media effects is much debated. There are three major models on how people consume Media:
    • Hypodermic Needle
    • 2 Step Flow
    • Uses and Gratifications
  • 3. EFFECTS….
    • HYPODERMIC NEEDLE MODEL:
    • Also referred to as Magic Bullet Theory. Hypodermic Needles
    • are needles which put things in, most commonly we think
    • of hypodermic needles being used by drug addicts.
    • Therefore the Hypodermic Needle Model explains that people watch/read media texts and they believe every part of every media message they are told. They consume it like a drug straight into the brain. It is the effect of BRAINWASHING someone. If the hypodermic needle model is to be believed then audiences are PASSIVE.
    • This theory fits well into the concept of advertising- if the concepts of “the best product on the market” and “you can’t do without one of these” are reinforced during adverts then people will believe they need them and therefore buy the products.
  • 4. EFFECTS…
    • CASE STUDY: WAR OF THE WORLDS
    • In 1938 Orson Welles broadcasted a radio adaptation of H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds”. The format of the script was so, that except for the introduction the
    • radio play would read like news flashes interrupting the regular programme.
    • Unfortunately some people tuned in after the introduction, the radio play was broadcasted as part of a regular series “The Mercury Theatre on the Air” carried by the Columbia Broadcasting System- America’s biggest network.
    • Out of 6 MILLION listeners to the programme, 1/6 th (1 MILLION) believed it to be a real alien invasion and mass hysteria broke out.
    • Cantril investigated into the case of mass hysteria and discovered that the difference between that 1/6 th and the rest of the audience was that the 1/6 had not listened to the introductory announcement and therefore had believed all the events they had heard about on the radio.
    • Articles from the time: http://members.aol.com/jeff1070/wotw.html
    • The Radio Script: http://members.aol.com/jeff1070/script.html
    • DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU SEE/HEAR IN THE MEDIA!!
  • 5. EFFECTS…
    • 2-STEP FLOW MODEL: The 2-step flow model details that there are opinion leaders in society.
    • Opinion leaders are people who have seen the media text and have been able to make up their own mind about it’s qualities and messages.
    • These opinion leaders are ACTIVE however except for deciding which opinion leaders to believe the rest of the audience are PASSIVE.
    This theory fits the concept of film reviews and film magazines, people who write for magazines such as Sight & Sound or Empire or presenters like Jonathon Ross are highly respected for their opinions. They will decide whether a film is worth seeing and “simplify” the content and qualities of the film, helping PASSIVE people make a decision about whether or not to see it. http://www.mysocialnetwork.net/blog/481/r10/2006-11-14%20Blog%20Posting%2010%20Picture%202.gif
  • 6. EFFECTS…
    • USES AND GRATIFICATIONS MODEL: The uses and gratifications model tends to give audiences a bit more respect as ACTIVE decision-making human beings.
    • Uses and Gratifications states that instead of just absorbing the message we survey the media and makes choices and SELECTIONS on what to watch, what to believe and HOW to watch it.
  • 7. EFFECTS…
    • Some “Uses” and “Gratifications” for Audience members include:
    • Diversion: escape or emotional release from daily pressure
    • Personal Relationship: virtual companionship & sociability of discussing TV with others.
    • Personal Identity: comparing your existence with what you see.
    • Surveillance: finding out what’s going on in the world- Voyeurism.
  • 8. EFFECTS…
    • EXERCISE
    • Can you think of examples in today’s world (except for those given) when someone may use one of the different models in relation to a media text?
    • Which type of people do you think are more likely to fit into one model rather than the others?
    • Hypodermic Needle
    • 2-Step Flow
    • Uses and Gratifications
    • Do you think the hypodermic needle model is still relevant in today’s society? Can you think of any examples?