On October 23rd, 2014, we updated our
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Why are they important…?
- An audience theory is the starting point for many
media studies tasks, whether a text is being
constructed or analysed.
- A media studies practitioner must always consider
the destination of a text. In other words, the text’s
target audience, and how certain audiences will
read it and respond to it.
- It is transferable across a wide range of media
texts and formats, such as film, newspapers, radio,
television, video games, etc.
- In covering this topic we need to be aware of a
broad shift from a perception of mass audience to
one that recognises that, whatever the size of
audience, it is made up of individuals.
- Along with this altered view is a shift in emphasis
from what the media do to the audience, to an
acceptance that audiences bring many different
approaches to the media with which they engage.
- Over the course of the past century or so, media
analysts have developed several effects models.
- These are theoretical explanations of how humans
ingest information transmitted by media texts and
how this might influence their behaviour.
- Effects theories are still a hotly debated area of
media and psychology research, as no one is able
to come up with indisputable evidence that
audiences will always react to media texts one way
- Research into media audiences was dominated by the debate
about 'media effects‘. In particular, the link between on-screen
violence and real-life aggression.
- Several moral panics fuelled these claims, such as…
* Rambo had influenced Michael Ryan to commit the Hungerford
massacre (USA, 1987) FILM
* Child's Play 3 had motivated the killers of toddler James
Bulger (UK, 1993) FILM
* Doom had driven Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold to commit the
Columbine massacre (USA, 1999) VIDEO GAME
* WWE is linked to teenage male aggression (global, 1990s–
- Each group will be allocated a theory.
- You will need to create a presentation
on this theory, which will then be
presented to the rest of the class in the
- In your presentation, you will need to
explain the theory, give examples of
the theory (linking it to a media
industry and texts) and evaluate the
* Hypodermic Needle theory
* Uses and Gratifications theory
* Encoding / Decoding theory