What media does to people... Most of the theories on media explain about the effects media has on people. It is the theory which explains of how people use media for their need and gratification. This theory states what media does to people and not what people do with media.
Theorists argue that people's needs influence how they use and respond to a medium. Uses & Gratification can be seen as part of a broader trend amongst media researchers which is more concerned with 'what people do with media', allowing for a variety of responses and interpretations. However, some commentators have argued that gratifications could also be seen as effects, for example thrillers are likely to generate very similar responses amongst most viewers.
1960’s During the 1960s, the first generation to grow up with television became grown ups, it became apparent to media theorists that audiences made choices about what they did when consuming texts. Audiences were made up of individuals who actively consumed texts for different reasons and in different ways.
Laswell In 1948 Lasswell suggested that media texts had the following functions for individuals and society: surveillance correlation entertainment cultural transmission
Blumer and Katz Researchers Blumerand Katz expanded this theory and published their own in 1974, stating that individuals might choose and use a text for the following purposes: Diversion - escape from everyday problems and routine. Personal Relationships - using the media for emotional and other interaction, eg) substituting soap operas for family life Personal Identity - finding yourself reflected in texts, learning behaviour and values from texts Surveillance - Information which could be useful for living eg) weather reports, financial news
Blumer and Katz Blumerand Katz’s uses and gratification theory suggests that media users play an active role in choosing and using the media. Users take an active part in the communication process and are goal oriented in their media use. The theorist say that a media user seeks out a media source that best fulfils the needs of the user. Uses and gratifications assume that the user has alternate choices to satisfy their need.
Since then, the list of Uses and Gratifications has been extended, particularly as new media forms have come along for example, video games and the internet