Uses and gratification theory This is a presentation on the uses and gratification theory, Who wrote this theory and how it is applied in media.
The Minds behind the theory The uses and gratification theory was considered by Jay Bulmer and Elihu Katz in 1974. They developed this theory based on the fact that media users play an active role in choosing and using the media. This theory suggests that users take an active part in the communication process and that they may be driven by goals in their media use. Bulmer and Katz suggest that a media user seeks out a media source that best fulfils the needs of the user. Uses and gratifications assume that the user has alternate choices to satisfy their need.
The theory itself The uses and gratifications theory focus’ more on the consumer and the audience. They started this theory by thinking instead of the actual message itself by asking ‘what people do with the media’ instead of ‘what media does to people’ this was suggested by Katz in 1959. The whole basis of this theory is that viewers have more of an active role in interpreting and implementing the media itself into their lives.
What it suggests The theory suggests that viewers are responsible for choosing media that would suit their needs but also they may have ulterior motives for choosing media other than their own needs. This means that viewers use media to fulfil specific gratifications. The theory itself suggests that media could compete with other information sources for user gratification.
The Model The uses and gratification theory follows a specific model which is an audience-centred approach. This model shows that certain psychological reasons can affect the viewers understanding of media, and gets the audience to seek out different types of media.
What users get • Diversion - escape from everyday problems and routine. • Personal Relationships - using the media for emotional and other interaction, eg) substituting soap operas for family life • Personal Identity - finding yourself reflected in texts, learning behaviour and values from texts • Surveillance - Information which could be useful for living eg) weather reports, financial news, holiday bargains