Think about this honestly - are your opinions
about television, films or groups ever
influenced by other people? Give an
example of how this theory could be
applied to the media today.
How did you begin watching your favourite
Did you introduce others to the show?
Do you maintain a relationship with other
During the 1960s, as the first generation to grow up with television
became grown ups, it became increasingly apparent to media theorists
that audiences made choices about what they did when consuming texts.
Far from being a passive mass, audiences were made up of individuals
who actively consumed texts for different reasons and in different ways.
In 1948 Lasswell suggested that media texts had the following functions
for individuals and society:
Researchers Blulmer and Katz expanded this theory and published their own
in 1974, stating that individuals might choose and use a text for the following
purposes (i.e. uses and gratifications):
Diversion - escape from everyday problems and routine.
Personal Relationships - using the media for emotional and other interaction,
e.g. substituting soap operas for family life
Personal Identity - finding yourself reflected in texts, learning behaviour and
values from texts
Surveillance - Information which could be useful for living e.g. weather reports,
financial news, holiday bargains
Since then, the list of Uses and Gratifications has been extended, particularly
as new media forms have come along (e.g. video games, the internet)
Examine your TV Drama and apply the uses and gratification theory,
identifying examples from the TV Drama to support your points and
discussing the effect of the examples on the audience.
Use the following uses and gratifications theory
How does it appeal to the
What critiques might be given of the uses and gratifications theory?
Is there times when you don’t have choice of the media texts that you
This is what the institution wants you to see/understand within a media text. As we
all know, we can sometimes offer a radical or oppositional reading (a David
Morley term) by rejecting the message (see aberrant decoding)
The position or level of acceptance we might give to media messages and their
inherent ideology based upon our social, class, political outlook and the context
of consumption. Parkin, Hall and Morley all offer slightly different labels for a
broadly similar approach. Typifies the more up to date academic approach to
audience research from the 1980s onwards
When an audience 'fails to get the message' and reads a text the wrong way
(e.g. the empty flag pole above Buckingham Palace following Diana's death)
1. Look at the poster for True Blood. Explain who the audience (or audiences) is/are for this text in
detail, and give reasons for your answer. You should refer to your notes on demographics to help
you answer this question. Annotate the poster with detailed comments
2. How can audience theory be applied to this text. Consider:
★Hypodermic Syringe Theory
★Uses and Gratifications