Audience Theories by Alana Abrahams

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  1. 1. AUDIENCE THEORIESBy Alana Abrahams
  2. 2. RECEPTION THEORY The reception theory is split into 3 different models: the dominantreading (hegemonic), the negotiated reading and the oppositionalreading (non-hegemonic). DOMINANT READING: This is when the consumer(reader/watcher) takes the actual meaning directly and decodes itexactly the way it was encoded. In other words it is the way thatthe producer intends us to receive it. NEGOTIATED READING: This is when the consumer accepts themeaning but doesnt necessarily agree with what was meant by it.They modify it to a meaning that they prefer. OPPOSITIONAL READING: This is the complete opposite to thedominant reading. It is when the consumer completely disregardsand misinterprets the intended meaning and takes it the wrong.This is usually when a reader takes something that is meant to bepositive, in a negative way.
  3. 3. USES AND GRATIFICATIONS THEORY The Uses and Gratifications theory is based around the fact that peoplewatch media to satisfy their own individual needs. The theory started in 1948 as Laswell suggested that media texts hadthe following functions: surveillance, correlation, entertainment andcultural transmission. In 1974, Blumler and Katz broadened the theorybefore they published their own version. It suggested that people maychoose to watch media for the following functions: surveillance,personal identity, personal relationships and entertainment/diversion. Surveillance is information that could be useful for living, forexample: weather forecasts, world news or the latest offers. Personal identity is learning behaviours and values from media asfinding yourself echoed from within it. Personal relationships are using the media for emotional, social orany other interactions. Entertainment/diversion is the escape from everyday problems andenjoyment of media.
  4. 4. DYERS UTOPIAN SOLUTIONS This theory suggests that audiences consume media products as a formof escapism from their real lives. Dyer thinks that reality is a negativeplace and the media world is a positive place. It is closely related withthe Uses and Gratifications theory. He stated that there are 3 different reasons why people consume mediaproducts: social tensions (audience fears they are being criticised and tryto avoid social situations), inadequacy (audience doesnt think they aregood enough) or absence (audience feels like there is something missingfrom their life). Entertainment offers the image of something better to set against therealities of day-to-day existence Richard Dyer The consumption of media provides audiences with a utopian solutionto their problems that they have in reality.
  5. 5. CULTIVATION THEORY Cultivation theory is a social theory which examines the long-term effects oftelevision on audiences. "The primary proposition of cultivation theory states that the more timepeople spend 'living' in the television world, the more likely they are tobelieve social reality portrayed on television. This theory was made byGeorge Gerbner and Larry Gross and it was developed with the purpose ofidentifying the cultivated effects of television on audiences. It suggests thatwatching TV changes peoples behaviour and attitudes. Media can impactnegatively on peoples actions and thoughts in reality. TV shows that are violent are said to influence young children andteenagers because they are easily influenced by the video games they playor shows they watch. They think that copying or acting in the same way asthe characters/actors in the media they watch/play is cool and makesthem popular among friends. WWE is an example of a violent show thatinfluences teens and children around the world. There have been a numberof cases where accidents have happened because children have copied thewrestling moves from one of the shows. In 2010, there was an extreme casethat caused Andrew Conley to strangle his brother to death. His reasoningwas because of the TV show Dexter. He idolised the main character fromthe show and said he was inspired by him.
  6. 6. MASLOWS HIERARCHY OF NEEDS People are motivated to achieve certain needs Abraham Maslow When a need a fulfilled, they look to fulfil the next need and this continues in achain. Maslows hierarchy of needs includes 5 motivations that he believes arewhat motivates people when needs are not met (diagram below). He said thatone must satisfy lower level needs to get to the higher levels and ultimatelyreach the highest level: self-actualisation. Self-actualisation is the realization or fulfilment of one's talents andpotentialities, especially considered as a drive or need present in everyone butMaslow said that only 1 in 100 people actually reach the level of self-actualisation. Due to failure to meet the lower level (basic) needs andthis disrupts being able to reach the higher levels.Different life experiences can effect progressingthrough meeting the needs, such as: divorce, loss offamily/friends or loss of job. Many people usedifferent types of media to provide the needs.For example, going to a music concert canprovide people with their social needs.