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Uses and Gratification

Uses and Gratifications Theory is an approach to understanding why people actively seek out specific media outlets and content for gratification purposes. The theory discusses how users proactively search for media that will not only meet a given need but enhance knowledge, social interactions and diversion. It assumes that members of the audience are not passive but take an active role in interpreting and integrating media into their own lives. The theory also holds that audiences are responsible for choosing media to meet their needs. The approach suggests that people use the media to fulfil specific gratifications. This theory would then imply that the media compete against other information sources for viewers' gratification. According to Katz, Blumler and Gurevitch's research there were 5 components comprising the Uses and Gratifications Model. The components are:

The audience is conceived as active. In the mass communication process much initiative in linking gratification and media choice lies with the audience member. The media compete with other sources of satisfaction. Methodologically speaking, many of the goals of mass media use can be derived from data supplied by individual audience members themselves. Value judgments about the cultural significance of mass communication should be suspended while audience orientations are explored on their own terms.

In 1974, Katz, Blumler and Gurevitch realized that many Uses and Gratification studies, to that point in time, were mostly focused on seven areas. The areas were:[11] 1. The social and psychological origins of 2. Needs which generate 3. Expectations

4. Of mass media or other sources, which lead to 5. Differential patterns of media exposure (or engagement in other activities), resulting in 6. Need gratifications and 7. Other consequences, perhaps mostly unintended ones Therefore, Katz, Blumler and Gurevitch developed the Uses and Gratifications model to better study how and why people were using media for personal satisfaction.

The Uses and Gratifications Theory was developed from a number of prior communication theories and research conducted by fellow theorists. Stage 1

In 1944 Herta Herzog began to look at the earliest forms of uses and gratifications with her work classifying the reasons why people chose specific types of media. For her study, Herzog interviewed soap opera fans and was able to identify three types of gratifications. The three gratifications categories, based on why people listened to soap operas, were emotional, wishful thinking, and learning. In 1970 Abraham Maslow suggested that Uses and Gratifications Theory was an extension of the Needs and Motivation Theory. The basis for his argument was that people actively looked to satisfy their needs based on a hierarchy. The pyramid hierarchy began on the bottom with Biological/Physical, Security/Safety, Social/Belonging, Ego/SelfRespect and Self-actualization at the top. In 1954 Wilbur Schramm developed the fraction of selection, a formula for determining which form of mass media an individual would select. The formula helped to decide the amount of gratification an individual would expect to gain from the medium over how much effort they had to make to achieve gratification.

Stage 2

In 1969 Jay Blumler and Denis McQuail began to study why people watched political program on television. The motive they were able to identify helped lay the groundwork for their

research in 1972 and eventually the Uses and Gratifications Theory.

In 1972 Denis McQuail, Jay Blumler and Joseph Brown suggested that the uses of different types of media could be grouped into 4 categories. The four categories were: diversion, personal relationships, personal identity and surveillance. In 1973-74 McQuail, Blumler and Brown were joined by Elihu Katz, Michael Gurevitch and Hadassah Haas, in their media exploration. The collaborative research began to indicate how people saw the mass media.

Stage 3

The most recent interest surrounding Uses and Gratifications Theory is the link between the reason why media is used and the achieved gratification.