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concept of audience

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Fergie Ferg

on 25 June 2018

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Transcript of concept of audience

The concept of audiences is all about WHO the audience is and WHY they consume a media text.
Who would these texts appeal to?
As well as WHO the text is aimed at, you need to consider why the audience watch, and how the audience will respond to it.
Uses and gratifications theory
Blumler and Katz (1974)
How you use this in your writing
The flight of the conchords offers the audience "escapism" (uses and gratifications) because it features weird and fantastical fantasy sequences that are different from everyday life.
Audiences can also be divided into different personality types.
Theoretical framework: audiences
All products have target audiences. A specific group in the target audience is called a demographic.

Demographics can be based on many things, such as:

Who is the target demographic and how is the product interpellating them?
Interpellating means how the text communicates with its' target demographic

This is the theory that audiences consume texts for a number of reasons.
Personal Identity
Social Interaction
Name one text you consume for each reason.
According to the Uses and Gratification theory, the shower scene in Psycho offers the audience "voyuerism" (uses and gratifications) because you are seeing a character in the shower which is usually a private moment.
What media language has been used to alter the genre of Frozen in this trailer?
When the audience takes pleasure in the discomfort of others.
Lots of texts offer the audience schadenfreude
Hypodermic needle theory
This theory suggests that the audience always completely accepts and believes a media product's message.
In 1938, a radio broadcast of the novel, War of the Worlds, caused many listeners to believe that an alien invasion was actually happening.
Many germans in Nazi Germany believed lies about Jewish people because of propaganda.
Criticisms of the Hypodermic needle theory
Some people feel that this theory is out dated and audiences won't just believe what they are told. Audiences bring their own ideas and opinions when viewing a text.
Quick-fire audience theory
1. Who is the target demographic and how is the text interpellating them?
2, What uses and gratifications does the text offer the audience?
Stuart Hall's reception theory
Preferred reading
of a media product:
What the producer wants you to think
Dominant reading
of a media product:
When the majority of the audience agrees with what the producers want them to think.
Negotiated reading
of a media product:
When the audience agrees with some of the producers intentions but rejects other aspects of it
Oppositional reading
of a text:
When the audience disagrees with the producers intentions and come to a very different conclusion.
Stuart Hall's reception theory in action
Preferred reading - a fun, lighthearted video that isn't degrading to women because the men are laughing and being silly with them.
The dominant reading will agree with this.
Negotiated reading - it's a fun video but it's unfair that the women are wearing so much less than the men.
Oppositional reading - degrading to women because there are three fully clothed men who are older and widely famous so they are in a position of power, surrounded by half naked twenty-somethings who are far more sexualised than the men. This reinforces the ideas that women have to be hyper sexualised in music videos and that their appearance is more important than a man's appearance.
What would the preferred, negotiated and oppositional readings of this text be?
2 step flow theory
Media product
Opinion leader
Opinion leaders might be bloggers, critics, magazines, youtubers
How to write about audiences.
You should try to use theory where you can, but don't forget to also fully explain your ideas about audience.
What uses and gratifications does this magazine cover offer?
How does this poster appeal to a wide audience?
The poster will appeal to a wide audience because the very long shot allows the producers to include a range of different characters. Each of these characters will have their own fan bases who will want to see the "event" of these characters teaming up. The fantastical elements such as the weapons and costumes may also offer the audience "escapism" as it's far removed from real life. Also, as the poster features the characters looking at an unknown threat, it creates an enigma code for the audience who will want to know who the characters are fighting. There is a character called The Vision positioned at the top of the poster, partially covered by some high key lighting. Opinion leaders who have knowledge of the comic books might identify this and pass on the information using the two step flow theory, attracting a wider audience.
Audience so far
Consider WHO the target audience is:
Target demographics
Socio economic group
Mainstream or Niche

Why are they consuming the text?:
Maslow's hierarchy of needs
Uses and gratifications

What is the effect of consuming the text?:
Cultivation theory
Young and Rubicon
Socio economic grouping
Most Guardian readers are ABC1
Choose a magazine cover.
Who do you think is the:
Target demographic - and why?
Target pyschographic - and why?
Target socio-economic group - and why?
Justify your choices
Applying the uses and gratifications theory
Inverted escapism
Audiences are glad that what is happening within the text, isn't happening to them.
Example -
I'm a celebrity...
Star theory
When the audience is encouraged to consume a media product because of the presence of a certain celebrity.
Cultural Competence
The audiences existing knowledge of popular culture. Media producers often rely on this.
The trailer for "Passengers" (2016) features several codes and conventions of science fiction such as the symbolic codes of robots, spaceships and AI. These are all recognisable features that are commonly seen within the genre. This offers the audience......
Key term - Mode Of Address
The mode of address is how a text speaks to the audience.

Does the text have a friendly mode of address? An informative mode of address?
3. What mode of address does the text have?
Does any other theory apply?
Protein World
What would the preferred, negotiated and oppositional readings of this text be?
Hilary Clinton political ad
What would the preferred, negotiated and oppositional readings of this text be?
Three write ups of three primary texts :
media language, genre, narrative and audience.
Three potential band/charity organisation names
Semiotic analysis of mood boards
Why we consume media
Maslow's heirarchy of needs
Are audience's active or passive?
Hall argues that not all audience's are the same. They have different reactions and responses. Media texts are encoded with meaning and decoded by audiences.
Think about positioning the audience here too!
Cultivation theory
Cultivation theory - George Gerbner

The idea that exposure to repeated patterns of representation over long periods of time can shape and influence the way in which people perceive the world around them (i.e. cultivating particular views and opinions)
Key theory
Mainstream audiences and Niche audiences
products will appeal to large audience
products are aimed at smaller audiences with specific interests.
Your own example...
Think of your own media text, and identify a potential dominant, and oppositional reading for it.

Try to think of your own, but here are some example if you are stuck…
Geordie Shore
Fox News
The Wolf of Wall Street
Top Gear
The Sun
Benefits Street
The X Factor/BGT
Kim Kardashian
Making a Murderer
When oppositional readings cause problems for media institutions
Socio-cultural context
How did socio-cultural and political contexts influence the audience's response to the 2017 Pepsi advert?
Audiences often have oppositional readings of media texts. With Pepsi's 2017 advert, oppositional readings included.......
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