Active and Passive audience theories

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Information about Active and Passive audience theories

Published on March 3, 2014

Author: CrispySharp



A look at different ways of categorising audiences and how different groups use different media texts

Media Audiences An Introduction

A Reminder… • What do we define as ‘the media’? • What different types of media do we ‘consume’?

Your Media Life • Make a list of as many different ways that you have consumed media in the past week? • What 3 different ‘texts’ have you used the most?

What is an Audience? • An audience is a group of people that consume similar media in a certain way • The method in which an audience is ‘constructed’ or ‘located’ is always beneficial to a powerful group of people

Why Study Audiences? 1. By identifying an audience you can predict behaviour. 2. A viewer can then adapt their own understanding of a text

Types of Audiences What different categories can we put audiences in?

Audience Classification • It is useful to first split audiences into these categories: o Socio-Economic Status o Psychographics / mood o Demographics o Technology

Socioeconomic Status Group Example Job Type Wage Bracket A Higher Managerial, Admin & Professional (Managers & Lawyers) £50,000 + Intermediate Managerial, Admin & Professional £25,000 - £50,000 Upper Class B Middle Class C1 Lower middle Class C2 Skilled working class D Working Class E Low income earners Supervisor / junior manager £15,000 – £25,000 Skilled Manual Workers Semi-Unskilled workers £7,000 - £15,000 Pensioners / Widows, Casual workers, Students £5,000 - £7,000

Psychographics / Mood • Psychographics can change over time • They reflect an audience member’s: o Attitudes o Personality o Values

Demographics • Demographics are static attributes that rarely change • They refer to an audience’s: o Age / Gender / Ethnicity / Sexual Orientation / Regional Identity

Technology • The medium or institution that an audience uses to consume media • This could refer to: o ITV / Radio 1 / Netflix / Vogue / Twitter

Examples of Constructed Audiences • • • • • A ‘Playstation 3’ audience An elderly audience A gay audience A Twitter audience A tired (post-work) audience

Some Examples Film advertising

Fast Girls (2012) • • • • Girls / aged 15-24 / Post-secondary school Londoners / Urban Sporty / aspirational C1 / C2 socioeconomic status • Kidulthood / The Misfits / Step Up / Skins

The Best Marigold Hotel (2012) • • • • Men & Women / aged 50 + / Retirees Southern England/ Rural / Ex-pats Worldly/ reflective A / B socioeconomic status • The King’s Speech / The Boat That Rocked

Specific Audience Models What is the Theory?

Active Vs. Passive Consumption • Media texts are ‘consumed’ by different audiences in different ways – an audience member can be Passive or Active • Passive – a passive model of consumption suggests that texts have an effect on the audience • Active – an active model instead suggests that audiences interact with the text to create meaning

Interactive television Which TV shows force you to interact?

Interactivity Physical Interactivity A handshake / a keyboard / a controller Social Interactivity Joining a group / phoning in / talking with other fans / Intellectual Interactivity Forming an opinion / having a thoughtful response Emotional Interactivity Crying at a sad scene / laughing at a joke Content Interactivity Creating a blog / Retweeting / leaving a comment

The main differences Passive Active Accepting opinions Forming opinions Paying little attention Paying full attention Watching a game Playing a game

A passive model Text A media text has a direct influence on a passive audience Audience

An active model Audiences engage with what they consume and are actively making their own meanings Text Audience

Uses & Gratifications Information Personal Identity Social Integration Entertainment

Information • Finding out about relevant events and conditions in immediate surroundings, society and the world • Seeking advice on practical matters or opinion and decision choices • Satisfying curiosity and general interest • Learning; self-education • Gaining a sense of security through knowledge

Personal Identity • • • • Finding reinforcement for personal values Finding models of behaviour Identifying with valued other (in the media) Gaining insight into one's self

Integration and Social Interaction • Gaining insight into circumstances of others; social empathy • Identifying with others and gaining a sense of belonging • Finding a basis for conversation and social interaction • Having a substitute for real-life companionship • Helping to carry out social roles • Enabling one to connect with family, friends and society

Entertainment • • • • • • Escaping, or being diverted, from problems Relaxing Getting intrinsic cultural or aesthetic enjoyment Filling time Emotional release Sexual arousal

In Groups… • We are going to create a profile of the gratifications people get from different genres. o o o o Sport Reality TV Soap Operas Documentaries

Talk Shows

Information • Different subject matter each episode • ‘Real life’ issues and problems • Based on families / relationships • Taboo subject matter

Social Integration • Watch with friends / family • Empathise with guests of show • Tweet along / talk about with others later • Substitute for conversation with real-life companion – conversational mode of address

Personal Identity • Reinforces beliefs about family life and relationship ethics • Provides advice about personal problems • Identify with similar characters • Recognisably British

Entertainment • Probably involve a fight or an argument • Familiar format – easy to watch • Laugh at the misfortunate – reassuring about own possible problems • ‘Shocking’ subject matter

In your groups How does the genre appeal to peoples need for: • Information • Social Integration • Entertainment • Personal Identity

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