Uses and Gratifications Theory is a popular approach to understanding mass
communication. The theory places more focus on the consumer, or audience,
instead of the actual message itself by asking “what people do with media”
rather than “what media does to people”. It assumes that members of the
audience are not passive but take an active role in interpreting and integrating
media into their own lives. The theory also holds that audiences are
responsible for choosing media to meet their needs. The approach suggests
that people use the media to fulfil specific gratifications. This theory would
then imply that the media compete against other information sources for
Basic model It is suggested that the uses and gratifications theory has to fulfil
one the following when we choose a form of media: Identify- being able to
recognise the product or person in front of you, role models that reflect similar
values to yours, aspiration to be someone else. Educate - being able to
acquire information, knowledge and understanding Entertain – What you are
consuming should give you enjoyment and also some form of „escapism‟
enabling us to forget our worries temporarily. Social Interaction – the ability for
media products to produce a topic of conversation between other people,
sparks debates (etc. who is left on the x-factor)Uses and gratification theory
can be seen in cases such as personal music selection. We select music not
only to fit a particular mood but also in attempts to show empowerment or
other socially conscience motives. There are many different types of music
and we choose from them to fulfil a particular need.
Over the past 10 years the internet has played a large part in the way the
uses and gratifications theory is perceived. Internet allows us to identify more
products and people, due to search engines like Google we can search for
anything, enables the audience to come closer to their role models. Music has
benefited because of websites like YouTube enabling audiences to watch any
music video we want.
Facebook, blogs and other social websites enable us to socialise while online.
Internet enables us to have freedom and escape all our worries at a click of a
button. Having access to websites that can give us happiness and a release
from day to day life. Therefore it is was important to me that social networking
and online sites are present throughout my production to allow social
interaction. On the contents page there are several references towards the
internet site and social media
Its is important that the audience gain a form of uses and gratification from
my product as it I will ensure that they but the product again. During the
production of my magazine I felt it was important that the audience gained
entertainment from my pop production as this is entertainment is a convention
of pop. Allowing the reader a form of escapism. Because of this I have
included 6 images on the front and many more throughout the cover and dps
to show variation.
Maslow‟s Hierarchy of Needs explores the idea that humans are motivated by certain
unsatisfied needs, the most basic of which must be satisfied before more complex ones can
be achieved. Here both the fundamental needs for survival, health, security and self
actualisation are explored. And from the perspective of the media industry this hierarchy can
help to reach out to an audience with ideas and products which in some way interact with
these needs, provoking a response.
However, in looking at this hierarchy, one might argue that whilst Maslow presents the rigid
idea that one thing must be achieved before another, the needs described will invariably
overlap, blurring the lines. For example, food and water would surely come within the same
category as resources and health, illness being one of the many things which lessens the
chance of longevity. Problem solving, amongst other things, one of the highest needs shown
here, would also surely interact with survival as the ability to problem solve allows a more
efficient approach to survival and security. And therefore, although I believe this hierarchy to
be a good basis and guide, I feel that perhaps it should not be taken as the strict, inflexible
structure which it is shown to be.
When planning my production I had to consider what I wanted my audience would get from
At the bottom of the pyramid are the Physiological Needs, which include Breathing, food,
water, sex, sleep, homeostasis and excretion . Therefore, it is only natural that these must
be fulfilled before the mind or the body is able to concentrate on any more complex needs
reaching out to self actualisation.
According to Maslow‟s theory, once the physiological needs have been met, we are able to
move our concentration to the aspects of security. sense of morality is also necessary as
the ability to distinguish right from wrong and to act accordingly is crucial to the survival of
society in the creation of a fair and decent system of law and order.
After the physiological and safety needs are met, the third section of the pyramid deals with
feelings of love and belonging, a need which is especially strong in childhood and can even
override the need for safety. Human beings, as social creatures, need to feel accepted in
various forms of communities and the absence of belonging can cause loneliness,
depression and anxiety. The need for acceptance can also cause an individual to give into
peer pressure, often disregarding a need for safety. When reading my magazine it is
important that my audience gains the feeling of involvement and acceptance. Pop culture is
about being part of a community and this should be provided through the magazine.
Esteem is the human need to be valued by themselves and by others and a lack of
esteem may result in an inferiority or depression, which in turn will ruin the individual‟s
ability to increase their self esteem. The higher need is ranked as such in Maslow‟s
theory since it deals with matters closer to inner competence and self actualisation. As
this is a higher need from I wont be able to provide this to my audience because it comes
from personal interaction. The audiences age also restricts this as it is unlikely that a girl
aimed 13-16 has particularly high self esteem.
The highest need of Maslow‟s theory is that of self-actualisation and represents the
individual‟s full potential or rather the desire to become everything that they can be. And
in order to meet this need, the individual must first achieve and maintain the lower,
physiological, safety, love and esteem needs.
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