Media Institutions You will understand how the proliferation in technology has affected audience patterns of consumption and production of media You will be able to explain some of the issues raised in the targeting of national and local audiences (specifically, British) by international or global institutions.
How to think about Audiences• The Hypodermic needle model• Two-step flow• Uses and Gratifications• Maslow’s hierarchy of needs• Reception theory• Cultural hegemony, representation and ideology
The hypodermic needle model (1920s)• This theory was the first attempt to explain how mass audiences might react to mass media. It is a crude model and suggests that audiences passively receive the information transmitted via a media text, without any attempt on their part to process or challenge the data.• Basically, the Hypodermic Needle Model suggests that the information from a text passes into the mass consciousness of the audience unmediated. IE: the experience, intelligence and opinion of an individual are not relevant to the reception of the text.• This theory suggests that, as an audience, we are manipulated by the creators of media texts, and that our behaviour and thinking might be easily changed by media-makers. It assumes that the audience are passive.
Two-step flow• Is a basic extension of the hypodermic needle model. It differs because: – It assumes that the audience are not as passive as they are in the hypodermic needle model – It suggests that the audience members will discuss the ideas that are transmitted in the media with an “opinion leader” – someone they trust – After discussing with an opinion leader, it assumes the audience are passive enough to accept the message at this point. – It seems simplistic, but think about the number of TV critics that audiences base their opinions of films on…is criticism of your films going to be relevant in your exam answer and in an application of the two-step flow theory?
Uses and Gratifications: Blumler and Katz (1974)• “The audience is conceived as active”• “In the mass communication process much initiative in linking need gratification and media choice lies with the audience member.” (The receiver determines what is going to be absorbed and does not allow the media to influence them otherwise).• “the media competes with other sources of need satisfaction.”This focuses on the idea that each individual has several needs. In response to this, they have created a wide range of choices that will meet these needs. The strongest rival to media based sources include face-to-face communication.• “Many of the goals media use can be derived from data supplied by the individual audience members themselves.”• It is the individual audience members who make the decision to view the media; therefore, they place the value on it by their individual decision to view it.
Melvin DeFleur & Sandra Ball-Rokeach: The Dependency Theory (1976).It was, in a sense, an extension or addition to the Usesand Gratifications Approach brought about a few yearsearlier.The theory is in essence an explanation of thecorrelating relationship between the media content,the nature of society, and the behaviour of theaudiences.It states that people in an urban society have becomedependent on mass communication to assist them inreceiving the information that they need, in order tomake a variety of decisions concerning their everydaylives.
Reception theoryAssumes that individual members of an audience will have different responses to media texts.Roland Barthes famously claimed that meaning from text rested with the audience rather than creators.
Is the audience always going to read things in the same way?• Preferred reading The preferred reading is when the audience accepts the message the clip is trying to give. So if a Sitcom is supposed to be funny, the preferred reading of a whole episode is that it is funny.• Oppositional reading An oppositional reading is the opposite to a preferred reading. If the preferred reading is that the Sitcom is funny, then an oppositional reading says that it isn’t. The fact some people find it funny proves that the “one hat fits all” approach of the hypodermic needle theory cannot work.• Negotiated reading Is somewhere between the two. In the Sitcom example, a negotiated reading would suggest that it is supposed to be funny, but not all the jokes are successful. A good negotiated reader might suggest canned laughter is trying to prove a part of the Sitcom should be funny.
Would it be right to show this advert to children?The fact that we say something different to each other is proof that we each read differently.
How does your film industry represent groups and how does this reflect or promote an ideology?• Ideology is a set of dominant values or beliefs.• Examining ideology in the film industry is concerned with how your film presents or seems to enforce a set of values.• Does your film set up an idealisation – perhaps an ideal of beauty (the beauty myth) or an ideal about what true love is?
Technological convergence and itsimpact targeting local, national and international audiences.
Convergence• What is convergence?• Convergence has an impact on both institutions and audiences: – For institutions, diversification means they are able to distribute across several media (e.g. a newspaper with online versions) – For audiences, it means the coming together of technology that creates new ways to access and produce media content. For audiences, technological convergence changes consumption habits that, inevitably, produces a new kind of “audience”. Audience are active users.
How do we categorise a British film?• Category A: films made with British money, personnel and resources.• Category B: films co-funded with money from Britain and from foreign investment, but the majority of finance, cultural content and personnel are British.• Category C: films with mostly foreign (but not USA) and a small British input, either financially or creatively.• Category D: films made with the UK with (usually) British cultural content, but financed fully or partly by American companies.• Category E: American films with some British involvment.
‘Anticipated for almost as long as the secondcoming, the digital media era is finally upon usand that much misused word ‘convergence’has become meaningful. Newspapers aretalking about video journalism; broadcastersare talking downloads and web companies?’(Gibson, 2007)
‘You can’t be expected to feel the pace ofchange as you will have grown up with onlinemedia as the norm, but for this part of yourstudies you do need to acquire a sense of howrapidly institutions and audiences are beingtransformed by digital technology’.(McDougall, 2008: 124)
Technological convergence• How has technological convergence changed audience’s consumption habits?• How do audiences now interact with media?• To what extent are audiences involved in the creation of media rather than simply its consumption?
HomeworkSuccessful media products depend as much onaudience consumption habits as they do goodproduction practices. To what extent do youagree with this statement?