Audience Notes

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  • 1. Audience
    • James Perkins
  • 2. A media text itself has no-meaning until it is decoded by an audience.
  • 3. The Hypodermic Needle Model
    • First to attempt to explain how mass media was perceived by audiences.
    • Suggested that audiences passively receive the information without processing or challenging the data.
    • Dates back to the 1920’s, started to use propaganda.
    • The experience, intelligence and opinion of the subject are not relevant to the reception of the text. Can be manipulated by the media-makers to think or do differently. Still quoted today e.g. young children watching rap videos etc
  • 4. Two-Step Flow
    • Hypodermic Model proved too clumsy to precisely explain the relationship between the text and the audience.
    • Mass media was now an essential part of life.
    • Analysed the decision-making processes of the 1940 presidential election.
    • Information does not flow directly into the individual’s mind but filtered through “opinion leaders” who then communicate it to less active associates who are influenced by them.
  • 5. Two-Step Flow
    • The audience meditate the information and apply the ideas and thoughts from opinion leaders, not being influenced by a direct process.
    • But by a ‘Two-Step Flow’
    • This made the media less powerful and they concluded social factors were also important in the way the audience received media-texts.
  • 6. Uses & Gratifications
    • During the 1960’s, the first generation to grow up with television became adults.
    • It became apparent that they made choices when interpreting media texts.
    • Audiences were made up of individuals who actively consumed texts for different reasons in different ways.
  • 7. Uses & Gratifications
    • In 1958 Lasswell suggested that media texts had the following functions for individuals and society;
    • Surveillance
    • Correlation
    • Entertainment
    • Cultural Transmission
  • 8. Uses & Gratifications
    • However, a theory published in 1974, gave other purposes for why they might choose and use a text
    • Diversion - escape from everyday problems and routine
    • Personal Relationships - using the media for emotional and other interaction e.g. soap operas for family life.
    • Personal Identity - finding yourself related in texts, learning behaviour and values from texts
    • Surveillance - information which could be useful for living e.g. weather reports, financial news, holiday bargains
  • 9. Reception Theory
    • This theory extended on the concept of active audiences and how they interpreted the text but also how their individual characteristics such as age and gender affected their reading.
    • Based on the encoding/decoding model. Encoded by the producer and decoded by the reader.
    • There may be major differences between the same reading because of how it is decoded.
  • 10. Reception Theory
    • However, using recognised codes and conventions and drawing upon audience expectations such as genre and use of stars, the producers can position the audience.
    • They can then create a certain amount of agreement on what the code means.
    • This is called ‘Preferred Reading’