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Key concept audience


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G325: 1B

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Key concept audience

  1. 1. Aims/ objectives •To reinforce audience theory •To have a basic understanding of how to evaluate your coursework against a consideration of your target audience.
  2. 2. Key terminology: Audience Theorists: Karl Marx, Theodor Adorno, Blumler and Katz, Stuart Hall Passive audience Active audience Hegemonic model Pluralist model Effects model Uses and gratifications theory Reception theory
  3. 3. Questions to consider for Audience 1b 1. Who is your target audience (social demographic) 2. How have you created your video/ digipak/ advert to attract/ appeal to your audience? 3. What are the different ways your audience will ‘read’ into your digipak/ advert and video? Will it be the way you meant them to or will they interpret meanings differently?
  4. 4. A bit of background • Julian McDougall (2009) suggests that in the online age it is getting harder to conceive a media audience as a stable, identifiable group. • An audience can be described as a ‘temporary collective’ (McQuail, 1972) Key terms: Mass, Niche, Mainstream, Alternative
  5. 5. Cowell Mass VS Alternative Cunningham Murdoch OR Niche/ smaller/ specialised audience
  6. 6. Your audience 1. Write down the details of the social demographic of your target audience. Gender Age Social class Ethnicity. Would your video appeal to a mass/ mainstream or alternative/ niche audience?
  7. 7. Audience feedback You gained audience feedback from your target audience. 1. How did you do this (eg social networking site etc)? 2. Make a list of some of the comments they made about your product. What might these comments show about your target audience?
  8. 8. Now let’s apply some theories Passive and active audiences There are basically two different schools of thought concerning how audiences consume media texts. Those that believe audiences are PASSIVE and those who believe audiences are ACTIVE.
  9. 9. Audience theory: the PASSIVE audience 1. What does the word PASSIVE mean? Passive audience theory (the hegemonic model) The idea that the media ‘injects’ ideas and views directly into the brains of the audience, therefore controlling the way people think and behave. Can you think of any examples of this in the media today or in history?
  10. 10. The Frankfurt School’s Hypodermic Needle Theory (1930s) Started with Karl Marx (we will come back to him) This theory was championed by theorists such as Theodor Adorno who believed the power of the media was ‘enormous and very damaging’ This theory suggests that the media injects its messages straight into the heads of the passive audience. This audience is immediately affected, believes these messages. ALSO called THE EFFECTS THEORY....coming up next....
  11. 11. Problems / criticisms of this theory Simplistic Assumes we don’t have our own minds/ opinions Elitist
  12. 12. Media effects theory ‘Passive’ audience/ hypodermic theory are sometimes referred to overall as ‘Media Effects Theory’ ie the media has a direct and powerful effect on it’s audience. For example with your music videos you can talk about the negative effects of rap/ gangster videos, Are there any possible effects that might be taken from your video? Write them down now....
  13. 13. IN SUMMARY: Hypodermic Theory: The ‘Effects’ model-The Frankfurt School (early studies of audience behaviour) • What the media do TO their mass audiences. • Meanings are ‘injected’ into the mass audience’s minds by the powerful syringe- like media. • The idea is that the media works as a drug and the audience are therefore, drugged/ addicted etc • The audience is PASSIVE • The mass audience is usually assumed to consist of the ‘weaker’ members of society eg women and children.
  14. 14. The Active audience (Pluralist model) By 1960s/ 70s researchers found too many limitations/ failing with Effects theories so went in a totally different direction. They argued that audiences use the media to satisfy certain psychological needs. ACTIVE audiences choosing media to fulfil needs.
  15. 15. The ‘uses and gratifications’ theory • 1. 2. 3. 4. McQuail, Blumler and Brown (1972) defined 4 major areas of need which the media in general seek to gratify: Diversion: an escape from routine and problems, an emotional release Personal relationships: companionship, feeling part of a social group. Personal identity: exploring or reinforcing our own values through comparison through others values (this would include the values of the media producers and of celebrities) Surveillance: the need for a constant supply of information about what is happening in the world.
  16. 16. Can you apply the ‘Uses and Gratifications’ theory to your media product? Diversion........................... Personal relationships..................... Personal identity.............................. Surveillance..............................
  17. 17. IN SUMMARY: ‘Uses and gratifications’ • Emphasises what the audiences for media products do WITH them. • Power lies with the individual consumer of media who is imagined as using particular programmes, films or magazines to gratify certain needs and interests. • The audience is made up of individuals free to reject, use or play with media meanings as they choose • THE AUDIENCE IS ACTIVE
  18. 18. Stuart Hall (1980s) Reception theory :Encoding and Decoding Stuart Hall claimed that audience members share certain frameworks of interpretation and that they work at DECODING media texts rather than being ‘affected’ in a passive way. So Media producer ENCODES meanings into text Media consumer (the audience) DECODES meanings (relies on our own experiences, social demographic etc)
  19. 19. Media producer has ENCODED meanings in to this image (depending on their ideologies/ beliefs) How would the audience DECODE this meaning? Would we all decode it in the same way?
  20. 20. Hall’s 3 types of reading: • DOMINANT- where the reader recognises what the programmes ‘preferred’ or offered meaning is and broadly agrees with it…eg flag waving patriot who responds enthusiastically to Presidents speech. • OPPOSITIONAL- where the dominant meaning is recognised but rejected for cultural, political, or ideological reasons…eg pacifist who understands the speech but rejects it.) • NEGOTIATED- where the reader accepts, rejects or refines elements of the programme in the light of previously held views.
  21. 21. You are the producer of your media text. How have you ENCODED messages/ meanings for the audience? List 5 examples. 1. How do you think your audience will DECODE these messages (in different ways?) 2. Will they agree with the preferred meaning? (yours) 3. Will they make an oppositional reading? (to yours)
  22. 22. Audience theories in summary 1. The passive/ hegemonic theories are: Hypodermic needle and effects theories. We believe what we are told and the messages could have effects on our behaviour 2. Active, pluralist theories say that we choose what we want to believe and read into texts differently depending on our backgrounds/ life experiences.
  23. 23. An essay question “Media texts will never be successful unless they are carefully constructed to target preestablished audience needs or desires.” Evaluate the ways that you constructed a media text to target a specific audience.
  24. 24. Another audience question The relationship between producer and consumer is complex. Using one of your courseworks explain how you have fulfilled and challenged audience needs and expectations.
  25. 25. A possible plan for the audience question 1. Intro- which coursework are you writing about? Purpose of essay. 2. Audience the concept. Who is your target audience? Briefly mention the theories. 3. Passive model- theories and how far does your video apply? 4. The active model- theories and how can they be applied? 5. Conclusion.
  26. 26. An example introduction At A2 I produced a music video, digipak and advert for the song....This is an indie/ rock therefore will bring a number of audience preconceptions with it. In this essay I am going to relate my production to audience theory to show how I have fulfilled and challenged these pre- existing audience expectations.
  27. 27. Your target audience. My choice of song........largely appeals to ......mainstream/ niche....describe what happens in your video in 3 lines....As a result of audience feedback some people said that they....other people.....This shows how I have managed to fulfil and challenge expectations.
  28. 28. Passive audience Describe where the passive audience theory came from...Frankfurt School...Adorno...power of media is “enormous and very damaging” Hypodermic needle theory....My video can be read passively by an audience .....examples....more examples......
  29. 29. Active audience Stuart Hall’s reception theory states that the audience is active and we decode texts according to own our experiences, values, etc.... Examples from your video of how things could be interpreted in more ways than one. So how you are challenging the dominant reading