AUDIENCE The consideration of audience is vital in Media Studies. You cannot answer ANY examination question without reference to you target audience, secondary audience, whether they are niche or mainstream. But most importantly, you have to acknowledge your awareness that different audiences will respond in different ways. THEORIES WE WILL STUDY: Blumler and Katz (1974) - Uses and Gratifications theory Effects model/Hypodermic model We will also look at the Social Demographics Table as a why to define an audience.
This idea was later developed by Richard Dyer in 1977, where basically it was decided that maybe the media audience isn’t passive at all and in fact they do actively make up their own minds about what they wish to consume from the media. Its simple to understand and remember: the audience uses the media to gratify their own needs. Blumler and Katz placed the audience into four categories that addressed the needs of members of the media audience. Diversion – a form of escape or emotional release from everyday pressures. Personal Relationships – companionship via television personalities and characters, and sociability through discussion about television with other people Personal Identity – the ability to compare one’s life with all the characters and situations within programmes/films and explore personal problems and perspectives. Surveillance – a supply of information about what’s going on in the world. Blumler and Katz (1974) - Uses and Gratifications theory
Effects model/Hypodermic model This was an idea developed in the early 20th Century whereby media theorists believed the media acted as a hypodermic syringe – injecting the audience with biased ideas and influencing their opinions. The theory suggests that the media brainwashes or drugs a passive audience with certain sets of values and it is responsible for reinforcing dominant rules, behaviours and ideologies. Its name comes from the idea of how the audience is drugged by the media
Social Demographics Table When we identify a target audience, we have to look at a number of things to establish whether that particular media product is suitable for them. As well as looking at age, gender, ethnic background etc, we also have to look at the audience’s occupation as this can then determine an audience’s social class. Unemployed, students, pensioners and casual workers E Semi-skilled and unskilled manual workers D Skilled workers, tradespersons C2 Office supervisors, junior managers, nurses, specialist clerical staff etc C1 Middle management, teachers, many creative type jobs such as graphic designers etc B Top management, bankers, lawyers, doctors and other professionals A Job Social Grade