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Audience theory

The Effects Theory
how do audience read media texts?

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Audience theory

  1. 1. Audience Theory The Effects theory
  2. 2. Effects Theory • Effects theories look at the effects of media on the audience. • Studies in 1930s – 1950s suggested that the media was a powerful influence on behavioural change. This was at a time of: • Rapid increase and popularity of Television & Radio • Immergence of persuasion industries (advertising / propaganda) • Payne Fund studies done on children to assess the effects of media • Hitler's monopolization of the mass media during WWII
  3. 3. THE HYPODERMIC NEEDLE THEORY ( 1 9 3 0 - 1 9 5 0 ) T H E H Y P O D E R M I C N E E D L E T H E O RY H T T P : / / Y O U T U . B E / Q T 5 M J B L V G C Y Or “Magic Bullet Theory” Example was in 1938 when H.G. Wells' "War of the Worlds.” was broadcast when the programme was interrupted by a news broadcast saying the aliens had invaded a town in New Jersey creating mass hysteria among a million listeners M A S S C O M M U N I C AT I O N Media is like a bullet or giant needle injecting into the thoughts and behaviours of a passive mass audience who are duped or drugged by it. H T T P : / / W W W . Y O U T U B E . C O M / W A T C H ? V = Y D 8 8 H _ 5 K - R Y & F E A T U R E = R E L A T E D
  4. 4. LIMITED EFFECTS MODEL TWO-STEP FLOW Paul Lazarsfeld (1940) Lazarsfeld did a study, (The People’s Choice) which suggested that media doesn’t flow directly into the audience’s mind unmediated. Dependant on an audience’s background, experiences, social factors etc. media could be filtered and interpreted. GRATIFICATIONS MODEL Blulmer and Katz (1974) A further study by Blulmer & Katz said that audience media consumption is based on choices so that an audience will seek out media that meets their desire / need /personal preference •Diversion (escapism) •Relationship (using e.g. soaps to replace family life) •Personal Identity (finding sense of understanding self) •Surveillance (seeking useful information) •
  5. 5. Reception Theory ENCODING/DECODING MODEL Stuart Hall (1980-1990) Builds on the active audience idea and analyses the relationship between producer and audience: The text is encoded by the producer and decoded by the audience By using recognised codes and conventions, and by drawing upon audience expectations relating to aspects such as genre and use of stars, the producers can position the audience and thus create a certain amount of agreement on what the code means. This is known as a preferred reading. See http://www.mediaknowall.com/as_alevel/alevkeyconcepts/alevelkeycon.php?pageID=audience For further information
  6. 6. Audience Readings Stuart Hall • Dominant Hegemonic / Preferred -audience recognises what media is preferred or offered meaning is and broadly agrees with it • Oppositional -dominant meaning is recognised but rejected for cultural or ideological reasons • Negotiated - reader accepts, rejects, or refines elements of the text in light of previously held views (e.g. they might agree with the need to combat terrorism but not agree with the way in which it was executed in a particular situation) http://youtu.be/eEaBhn0mOeE?list=PLDA6CE85A05669188
  7. 7. Relate audience theory to your product How might apply Audience Theory to your own work. Using your Teaser trailer & an existing real media product (that you researched) ask yourself the following questions: 1. Who is your Target Audience? 2. Why might they choose to watch your product? (i.e. what elements of your teaser trailer would appeal to them?) reflect on Blulmer & Katz’s Gratification model. 1. Are your audience active or passive viewers? (why do you think that?) 2. As producer what codes have you embedded for the audience to decode?

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