Audience?• Media producers need to ensure they can readily define a target audience for a particular product and then create a product which will appeal directly to that target audience.
Hartley (1987)Suggests that institutions must produce ‘invisiblefictions of the audience which allow theinstitutions to get a sense of who they must enterinto relations with’e.g. they must know their audience so they cantarget them effectively.
Types• Mass Audience: large audiences- often termed as ‘broadcast’ audiences, who consume mainstream or popular culture texts. E.g. soap operas, sit-coms, reality TV shows etc• Niche Audience: smaller than mass- influential- dedicated-loyal- BBC four aimed at a niche audience interested in artistic programmes.
Gaining Feedback from your Audience.• You attempted to gain feedback from your target audience in order to get their opinions, You used the blogs, social networking etc in order to share ideas and images.• Write down how you did this.• What type does your audience belong to (mass or niche?) why?
Types• Passive and Active Audiences• There are basically two different schools of thought concerning how audiences consume media texts, those that believe that audiences are ‘passive’ and those who believe that audiences are ‘active’.
Passive Audience Theory• The idea that the media ‘injects’ ideas and views directly into the brains of the audience like a hypodermic needle, therefore, controlling the way that people think and behave.
Passive Audience Theory• ‘Passive’ audience/hypodermic theory are sometimes referred to overall as ‘Media Effects Theory’, i.e. the media has a direct and powerful effect on its audience.• For your coursework this can relate directly to music videos debate at the moment concerned with rap/gangster videos.
Pluralist Model and the Active Audience Theory• This is the idea that the audience have an active role to play in the understanding of, and creation, of meaning within a media text.• A pluralist model argues that there is diversity in society (everyone is different) and therefore there is also choice (we can choose what to believe and what not to believe.)
Pluralist Model and the Active Audience Theory• So in media terms, because the audience (society) is diverse, with different points of view, the media is influenced by society .• Because the media need to please the audience they will try to reflect the values and beliefs that are predominant in society.• In other words, they give us what we say we want rather than telling us what to think and believe, in order to make us stay ‘in our place.’
Uses And Gratifications Theory Dennis McQuail (1972)• 1. Diversion/Escapism• 2. Personal Relationship: A talking point• 3. Personal Identity: identifying with the representations on display• 4. Surveillance: Information
Place the following genres into their correct category• The News, EastEnders, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, Friends, Cribs,The Bill, Holyoaks, Life On Mars, I’m A Celebrity..., Escape To The Country, X Factor, Coronation Street.• Information• Identity• Social interaction• Diversion• Which of the above programmes might be guilty of employing the ‘Hypodermic Model’
The active audience• More recent developments still suggest that there is a decoding process going on among the active audience who are not simply using the media for gratification purposes.
The active audience• The audience accept or agree with the encoded meanings, they accept and refine parts of the texts meanings or they are aware of the dominant meaning of the text but reject it for cultural, political or ideological reasons
Ways of decoding• Preferred/dominant reading The preferred reading is the reading media producers hope will take from the text.• Oppositional reading Audience members from outside the target audience may reject the preferred reading, receiving their own alternative message.• Negotiated Reading The ‘third way’ is one in which audiences acknowledge the preferred reading, but modify it to suit their own values and opinions.
Ethnographic model• The latest research into audience has resulted in an ethnographic model, which means that the researcher enters into the culture of the group.• What seems to be emerging from this work isa) the focus on the domestic context of reception of media textsb) the element of cultural competencec) technologies.
The focus on the domestic context of reception of media texts• Engagement with the media is often structured by the domestic environment• The home is not a free space and there are issues about finance for purchase of media goods, control of the remote, the gendered nature of watching TV
The element of cultural competence• Texts that can be identified as belonging to a genre that has gender appeal.• The male preference for news and more factual forms can be seen as a feature of cultural competence because men occupy more public space than domestic space and therefore feel the need to be aware of the public worlds reflected in such texts.
Technologies.• Relates to the way we engage with the hardware in order to enjoy the output of the media.• There seems to be a strong gender divide here with computers and complex technology fitting into the category of boys’ toys.• If present trends in technology continue then there is a real danger that there will be a further demarcation along gender lines.• Save the balance- TV use females in less traditional roles as a way of redressing the balance (think Suzie Perry on the ‘Gadget Show’).
Shift• Overall the shift in the models for audience has gone from mass audience to individual viewer with stress on the active audience rather than the passive model. The level of activity in the implied audience is related to the uses, pleasures, cultural competence, situation and available technology for the particular audience.