Audience theories

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1. Audience Theories 2. Introduction Within this presentation I am going to be looking at the five main audience theories and whether they are going to be applicable or…
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  • 1. Audience Theories
  • 2. Introduction Within this presentation I am going to be looking at the five main audience theories and whether they are going to be applicable or not to our production, and if so how. Much of these theories argue whether the audience is either active or passive which can also coincide with their social standing. The passive theories suggest that the audience can not resist the power of the media and therefore openly digest the empty promises of mass entertainment. Passive audience tend to believe whatever is portrayed to them without second thought, hence why it would be applied to an unsophisticated C2-E audience. On the flip side an active audience uses media texts and production to gratify our needs. An active audience would question the media content and would not instantaneously and openly believe the media text without thinking about it first.
  • 3. Hypodermic Syringe The hypodermic syringe theory effectively states that media can be consumed by the audience without any sort of reaction that would potentially dispute or disagree with the media. It implies that the audience wouldn’t necessarily watch the media product to gratify their needs, which is basically them not gaining anything back in return. This theory dates back to the 1950’s where governments and political leaders inform their listens with intent and thought. The propaganda was believed by the audience without any questions, thus proving the theory has some foundation.
  • 4. Continued… This theory uses the analogy of an injection (hence the name) in a substance to describe how audience are influenced by the media itself, it is being consumed, mainly be a passive audience. The syringe is used as a part of imagery to the introduce the idea that it injects certain beliefs and ideologies into our society who take in the media product. This is a passive theory as the media text is believed by the audience without questioning what it actually might be saying. An active audience could challenge this idea and use the media product to satisfy their needs. We could apply this theory to our production and argue that the primary audience would be able to gratify needs of excitement but but then tame that down with heart felt sorrow.
  • 5. The Two-Step flow theory The two step flow theory is slightly more complex than the previous. It relates to two different stages, starting with the opinion leader, who are highly respected in society, these are a sophisticated demographic, after they have consumed the media product they pass the information they receive onto others. The seconds stage of this theory involves the people in social contact with the opinion leader. These people will receive the information along with the leaders opinion from the opinion leader. The people in social contact with the leader then consume what the opinion leader says without question. Based on the respect that the consumer has for the opinion leader, they are more than likely going to ingest the information given to them. This again is a passive theory as the audience who are listening to opinion leaders passively digest the information given to them without having to think about it. The audience don’t feel the urge to question or to argue with what the opinion leaders are saying to them.
  • 6. Continued We won’t really be able to apply this to our production as this is aimed more at a passive and unsophisticated audience, however it could be stated that we have some opinion leaders watching our production and may therefore want to pass down the information, ideologies and such that they get from the product and feed this information to the passive audience that have respect for them because of their income bracket.
  • 7. Uses and Gratifications The uses and gratification model implies that the audience, when consuming the media, have a set of needs they desire that delivered by the media. These four needs are: Personal identity Information Social interaction Entertainment
  • 8. Continued.. This theory is for more of an active audience who consume the product and then decide what needs that they want and then what they can gain from the product, they do not consume it without realising what they are watching. We could apply this to our production as the active audience would watch our production and then decide what uses and gratifications they are receiving.
  • 9. Morley’s Reception Analysis Theory Reception analysis theory focuses on the audience reaction to a particular media text, with the audience interpreting the meaning of the media and then providing judgement, which is then influenced by the past experiences of the audience and how they feel. An effective example of this is a documentary that shows an actor in a positive light throughout, which cuts anything potentially negative about the actor to a bare minimum. A member of the audience after viewing this, would analyse the media and provide judgement based on their circumstances. This theory looks at three different parts; The negotiated reading, the dominant reading and the oppositional reading.
  • 10. Continued… The dominant reading is the one which stares at you plain in the face, it’s the one which the producers show plainly and the audience accept. The oppositional is the one where the audience disagree with what is right in front of their face and go against the ideology presented. The negotiated reading is where the audience read a text and and think that it could be seen as partially the dominant reading and also a part of the oppositional reading.
  • 11. Continued… The audience member could disapprove or approve just based on what they have personally seen throughout their life. This differs heavily if another person was asked about their opinion because no two people are going to have experienced the same things in their life. This theory is clearly an active theory as the audience are going to interpret the text however they judge to see it, but no two members of the audience will be able to see it in completely the same light as they both share different previous experiences. We could apply this to our production as the audience may feel moved if they have lost a loved one because the husband dies at the end of the production, however we can also talk about how the audience may perceive the wife to be the antagonist in the film as she is the one who is going to kill the husband (which is what the film implies however doesn’t show, keeping the sophisticated audience guessing).
  • 12. Culmination theory This theory is about the effects on an individual if they were to watch something over and over again for a long period of time. It talks about the way in which someone may behave prior to watching a media product and after watching a media product. Someone may be sensitive to blood or violence but if it sort of becomes the norm then people begin to accept this a lot more.
  • 13. Continued… This theory is very hard to prove correct depending on who the person is receiving the media text and viewing different things in very different ways. Many people over time have tried to prove the culmination theory correct but there has never been any concrete success. We wouldn’t be able to apply this theory to or production as we have a sophisticated audience who challenge what they see in front of them and think more outside the box.
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