3) Uses and Gratification

3) Uses and Gratification

In the 1960s, the first generation that grew up with the television became adults. Media Theorists noted that audiences made choices about what they did when consuming media texts. The audiences were made up of individuals who actively consumed texts for many different reasons.

Lasswell suggesed (in 1948) that the media texts had specific functions for individuals and society.

  1. Surveillance
  2. Correlation
  3. Entertainment
  4. Cultural Transmission
This theory was then expanded in 1974, when researchers Blulmer and Katz published their own theories, stating individuals might choose and use texts for…
  • Diversion/Entertainment: Audiences can use media texts as a form of escapism as well as relaxation. They can also be used as a means of filling time and as an emotional release or, even sexual arousal.
  • Personal Relationships/ Social Interaction: Media texts can help people identify with others and gain a sense of belonging and provide a basis for conversation and social interaction. It can also act as a substitute for real life companionship. Texts can also help others gain an insight to other peoples lives and share a sense of social empathy.
  • Personal Identity: Media texts can help people find reinforcement for their personal values and models of behaviour. It can also help the audience gain an insight to them-self
  • Surveillance/InformationAudiences can use media texts to educate themselves about relevant events/conditions (e.g. the weather) or look to it for advice about practical matters or assist in decision making. It helps to satisfy viewers curiosity and general interest and provides a feeling of security throughout knowledge.

The theory does not, however, consider the power of the media and is more audience centred.


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