Audience Theory

The Audience theory is a theory of how the public perceives the message of the media and the media itself. There are various elements that make different people see thing differently than others.

This theory encloses different theories with in it, some are:

  • The Hypodermic Needle Theory

This works as a linear means of communication. The Hypodermic Needle theory was discovered in the 1920’s . It stated that the mass media has direct influence on the audience and how the message of the media is injected directly to the passive audience.

needleYouTube. (2012)

  • The Two Step Flow Theory

It claims that the message of the media travels in a much more complex way than how it is explained by the Hypodermic Needle theory. Instead of direct communication, it goes through opinion leaders which later influence the audience.

2-stepYouTube. (2012)

  • The Gratification Theory

This concerns, what the people do with the media rather than what the media does to the person. This is sectioned into 5 categories:

  1. Cognitive Needs: Using the media to acquire knowledge
  2. Affective Needs: Using media to satisfy emotional needs
  3. Personal Integration Needs: Using media to reassure one’s status and self-esteem (example watching jewellery commercials)
  4. Social Integration Needs: Used to socialise through media (Facebook)
  5. Tension free Needs: Using media for relaxation (ex: entertainment)
  • Reception Theory

This is how the message of the media is interpreted according to culture and personal believes. How one decodes and encodes a message transmitted.


Reference list:

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