Uses and Gratifications Theory I. Introduction Uses and Gratifications Theory is an influential tradition in media research.
The core question of such research is: Why do people use media and what do they use them for? There exists a basic idea in this approach: audience members know media content and which media they can use to meet their needs. II. Establishment of Uses and Gratifications approach According to West & Turner (2007), in the early days of mass media (the era of the penny newspaper, radio, movies and talkies, Mass Society Theory defined the relationships between audiences and the media they consumed. Mass Society Theory gives out the idea that average people are the victims of the powerful forces of mass media. However, this was rejected because social science and even simple observation could not confirm the operation of all powerful media and media messages since most people were not directly affected by media messages and were not all influenced similarly. Limited effects theories however replaced Mass Society Theory. It holds that media effects are limited by certain aspects of individual audience members’ personal and social lives. There are two approaches to this orientation: 1. Individual differences perspective 2. Social Categories Model These views provide audience member little credibility. In response to these unfavorable views of typical audience members, theorists Katz, Blumler, and Gurevitch presented a systematic and comprehensive articulation of audience members’ role in mass communication process and after such formalizing, they identified the Uses and Gratifications theory. The theory suggests that people actively seek out specific media and content to generate specific gratifications. This audience-centered media theory underscores an active media consumer. (But for now, we would briefly trace the theory’s development.) III. Stages in the Uses and Gratifications Research Uses and Gratifications Theory is an extension of needs and motivation theory (Maslow, 1970 as cited in West & Turner, 2007). In the needs and motivation theory, people actively seek to satisfy hierarchy of needs. (Once naachieve na nila yung goals na hinahanap nila sa isang level, pwede na sila magmove sa sunod na level. Ipinapakita dito na humans are active seeker out to satisfy their needs. Itong idea na to fit well with the ideas ni Katz, Blumler, at Gurevitch about how people consume mass communication.)
Listeners seemed to engage in wishful thinking—(They gained various satisfactions from listening to the experiences of others. learning about a specific content Diversion. obtaining information. Some people enjoyed the drama because they allowed them emotional release in listening to the problems of others. 1. (1973) Source: Adapted from West & Turner. separation from others
McQuail et al. 2005): 1. Some people felt that they could learn from these programs (because if you listen to these programs and something turns up in your life. 2007
. This research began to conceive of these audience motives as gratifications that were obtained by individuals from the media. 1992 as cited in Miller. social interaction. relaxation. 2. 2. you would know what to do about it. personal identity. personal relationships. 3. (1972) Katz et al.) Three attributes of this research that were important in leading to the theoretical framework developed later (Swanson. Because she wanted to understand why so many women were attracted to soap operas. she interviewed soap opera fans and identified three major types of gratification. Research in this tradition highlighted the ability of audience members to provide useful information about their motives and desires with regard to the media. in which individuals have their own reasons for accessing the media. 2nd stage In this stage. typologies were created to represent all the reasons people had for media use. companionship.1st stage Herta Herzog’s work which was instrumental in the development of Uses and Gratifications began the first stage of the research. enjoyment.) 3. excitement. escape. RESEARCHERS Rubin (1981) REASONS FOR MEDIA USE Passing time. She studied the roles of audiences’ wants and needs. surveillance Connection with others. This research introduces the idea of an active audience.
2005. What did they study? The relationship of motivation. Greene & Kremar. 2005. The audience is active and its media use is goal oriented. Parasocial interaction-the relationship we feel we have with people we only know through media What did they found out? A motivation for exciting entertainment and information acquisition interacted with perceptions of the parasocial relationship to explain why listeners tuned in to talk radio and why they found a host credible (The gap between the research such as Herzog’s on audience use of media and the firm establishment of the perspective as an important and valuable theory some thirty years later was due to the dominance of the limited effects paradigm. 1994 as cited in West and Turner. yung attention focused lang sa what it was about media. the consequences of media use. Assumptions of Uses and Gratifications Theory Uses and Gratifications Theory provides a framework for understanding when and how individual media consumers become more or less active and the consequences of that increased or decreased involvement. Moreover. goals. benefits. 2000. (Since limited to effects that defined most mass communication theory and research at the time. A study by Alan Rubin and Mary Step exemplifies the third stage of Uses and Gratifications Research. Five basic assumptions by Katz. messages and audience that limited media’s influence.3rd stage Uses and Gratifications researchers are interested in linking specific reasons for media use with variables such as needs. 2007). Haridakis & Rubin. Gurevitch 1. they wanted to make the theory more explanatory and predictive. Table of additional categories of needs fulfilled by media Need Type Description Media Examples
. • Audience members are also driven to accomplish goals vie the media. • Individual audience can bring different levels of activity to their use of media. and individual factors (Faber.) IV. interpersonal attraction and parasocial interaction to listening to public affairs talk radio. Blumler. Little attention was paid to how audiences use media. Rubin.
Internet Source: Adapted from Katz. (For example. marami sa atin mas gusto maentertain kesa maging educated tungkol sa isang historical event (diversion). and so forth
Television (news). chat rooms. (Pag gusto natin tumawa. 1973 as cited in West & Turner.
2. comprehension Emotional. pleasant.
3. • Media and audiences do not exist in a vacuum. soap operas) Video (“Speaking with conviction”) Internet (e-mail. • Audience members choose among various media then for different gratifications. marami sa atin may gusto ng love stories kesa sa historical war films. or aesthetic experience Enhacing credibility. • Media and audiences are part of the larger society and the relationship between media and audiences is influenced by that society.Cognitive
Acquiring information. Lahat tayo may favorite content sa isang medium and may mga dahilan tayo kung bakit natin pinili yung medium nay un. video (“How to Install Ceramic Tile”). television (sitcoms. going out to movies is more likely use of media compared sa magrerent kayo ng video at panoodin na lang sa bahay)
. panonoodin natin Bubble Gang. Gurevitch & Haas. 2007 (Sa story natin kanina. IM)
Television. and status Enhancing connections with family. tapos TV Patrol naman pag gusto natin maiinform pero walang nagdedesisyon para sa atin kung ano yung dapat gustuhin natin sa isang medium) • Implication: Audience members have a great deal of autonomy in the mass communication process. nakita natin na si ____________ namimili siya sa dalawang media which are television and film. knowledge. Maraming drivers mas gusto nila na makipagusap sa cellphones habang nasa mahabang byahe. Tension release Escape and diversion radio. The initiative in linking need gratification to a specific medium choice rests with the audience member. parang it not only passes time but also allows them to stay connected with their family and friends (personal relationships). movies (documentaries or films based on history)
Affective Personal integrative Social integrative
Movies. Sa movies. confidence. movies. At the end of the day. friends. The media compete with other sources for need satisfaction. • People are active so they take initiative. makikipagdate kayo.
4. Yung mga studies na ito inaattempt nilang iorganize kung bakit pumipili ng media ang mga tao at various times at ano yung nakukuha nila sa connection nila sa media. self-education -Gaining sense of security through knowledge Personal Identity -Finding reinforcement for personal values -Finding models of behavior -Identifying with the valued others (in the media) -Gaining insight into one’s self Integration and -Gaining insight into circumstances of others: social Social Interaction 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
. • Less about the audience than it is about those who study it. society and the world Information -Seeking advice on practical matters. • Methodological issue that has to do with researcher’s ability to collect reliable and accurate information form media consumers (to argue that people are self aware enough of their media use. Value judgments of media content can only be assessed by the audience. or opinion and decision choices -Satisfying curiosity and general interest -Learning. interests and motives to be able to provide researchers with an accurate picture of that use. (It asserts that researcher should suspend value judgments linking the audience’s needs to specific media or content. mapapansin natin na yung mga hinahanap natin pwede natin makita sa tv) Typology of Gratifications Sought and Obtained from Media Gratification Examples Category -Finding out about relevant events and conditions in immediate surroundings. it also implies that people are cognizant of their activity) 5. V. People have enough awareness of their media use. Theorists in U&G argue that because it is individual audience members who decide to use certain content for certain ends. Katulad na lamang sa table na ito. interests and motives to be able to provide researchers with an accurate picture of that use reaffirms the belief in an active audience. research identified large number of ways kung saan ang isang active media audience uses the media to gratify various needs. the value of media content can be assessed only by the audience. Kunwari sa tv na lang. Gratifications sought and obtained from media (Marami ng studies sa uses and gratifications tradition ang nagattempt na maganswer ng questions regarding gratifications sought and obtained from media by developing typologies katulad ng nakita natin sa previous slide.
They go online to buy cds. talk shows samantalang yung iba skillful sila sa pagconsume ng media. Yung iba nabubuhay na lang sa panonood ng tv.) 3. Selectivity. Imperviousness to influence. Parang yung level of activeness natin often varies by the time of the day and type of content. 1983. 2007). pp. Yung friend mo gusto makinig ng rap dahil sa beat yung isa naman for rhythms tapos yung iba dahil sa social commentary. manonood tayo ng state of the nation ni Jessica soho. For example. Ang activeness din ay individually variable. problems -Relaxing -Getting intrinsic cultural or aesthetic enjoyment -Filling time -Emotional release -Sexual arousal Source: From McQuail. Utility. Kung mas gusto natin ng greater detail about a news story. Intentionality. magoonline ka for news kesa magbasa ng newspaper) • Activeness.how much freedom the person really has in the face of media (ang activeness ay relative.)
.audience member construct their own meaning from media content (Iniiwasan nilang mainfluence ng media. 82-83 as cited in Miller. 4.audience members’ use of media reflects their existing interests (Kung gusto natin ng rock makikinig tayo sa radio station na puro rock lang ang pinapatunog. 2005 VI. yung ibang tao pag bibili ng products on the basis of quality hindi dahil sa nainfluence sila ng advertising campaigns.) 2. friends and society Entertainment -Escaping or being diverted from. Ikaw pwede ka maging inactive tapos biglang active ulit.using media to accomplish specific tasks (People listen to the car radio to find out about traffic. they tune in to comedy. Or kaya di naman tayo nakikipagsuntukan kahit na gaano pa natin kagusto ang mga action shows) For a better understanding of the degrees of audience activity. 1.-Enabling one to connect with family. • Activity. The Active Audience A theory is based on assumption that media consumers are active must delineate what it means by “the active audience” (West & Turner.what consumer does (for example. Yung ibang tao active participants yung iba passive.people’s prior motives determine use of media (When people want to be entertained. Blumler suggested kinds of audience activity in which media consumers could engage. Uses and Gratifications Theory gives the difference between activity and activeness.
(As a result nung gratifications obtained pwede natin irevise yung assessment natin ng gusto natin at yung probability of obtaining from various media sources. the more important the media will be to that person. 1. MSD provides a more coherent system of theoretical concepts suitable for testing. it receives criticisms on its theory and methodology represented. MSD can be applied to dependency relationships at a variety of levels whereas uses and gratifications deal almost exclusively with the individualmedia relationship. • Assessment of the value of a particular outcome • Assessment of the probability of outcome occurring (so sa framework ng uses and gratifications theory.) VIII. info. Criticisms of Uses and Gratifications Theory (Even if U&G is significant in communication research. Expectance Value explanation
This suggests that individual’s behavior will be guided by two assessments. Media Dependency Theory (Media Systems Dependency Theory)
This is an extension of or an addition to the uses and gratifications approach. (pero may subtle difference sa dalawang theory na ito) Media Systems Dependency states that the more dependent an individual is on media for having his or her needs fulfilled. (ex.(Other scholars have worked to understand the underlying theoretical mechanism through which gratifications influence behavior) VII. yung approach na to would suggest that we value particular things (escape.combine to predict gratification we seek from media which then predict media consumption and gratifications obtained. 2. IX. 3. 2005). Media Systems Dependency and Uses and Gratifications are similar in terms of metatheoretical commitment and in terms of the object of explanation. MSD weakens the power of the active audience by proposing “the audience member’s relation to the media use as one of inherent subordination”. companionship) and that we have expectations about the probability na yung mga bagay na to can be obtained from various media sources) Estimates of value and probability.)
. Pareho nila ineemphasize yung link between individual purposes at yung large social apparatus ng mass media) Loges & Ball-Rokeach (1993) highlight three differences of MSD and U&G (Miller.
needs. n.) Despite all of its limitations. (Hanggang ngayon yung mga researchers patuloy pa din nilang iaaral yung mga needs ng mga tao at yung iba’t ibang forms ng media content provide for their gratification. 2010). roles. Since the theory is very hard to keep track of the exposure through observation.) Ien Ang also argued that Uses and Gratifications Theory tends to focus on individual needs. 1984 as cited in West & Turner. He notes that the theory relies too heavily on the functional use of media because there are times when media can be reckless. According to Lull audiences don’t always benefit from the use of media and more important they don’t take on in media consumption willingly and independently.). For example. Hindi naaddress ng theory yung irresponsibility ng media. it relies on self reports of media users. (He thinks that some of the theory’s terminology needs to be further defined.•
The theory suffers from a lack of theoretical coherence (McQuail.) (A strong limitation of the theory comes from one of its developers) Katz in 1987 admitted the doubtful nature of the study itself. the respondents might inaccurately recall how they behave in media use and distortion might occur (“Uses”. Lahat to pwede maging important factors in determining yung media content na pipiliin ng tao.) Explanations in terms of needs and gratifications focuses mainly on the individual person. the content of the media is ignored and the especially the quality of the message which is delivered.d. n. It attempts to explain complex behavior almost solely on the basis of motivations.). ranks and controls) that can have profound influences on individual behavior. (J. (Ang mahalaga nagmove forward yung understanding kung bakit people turn to mass commm in such large nos. Since it is based on a personal memory. (Also.). (Self reports could be problematic.d. gratifications that take place within the psychological functioning of the individual (DeFleur. disregarding the social context (“Uses”. especially to entertain themselves (“Uses”.d.) The most authoritative critics to the theory come from James Lull in 2002. The bottom line is that U&G theory is still under study and revision (DeFleur. 2007). It also ignores the influence of social organizations (norms. n. He criticized the main assumption of the Uses and Gratification Model: people seek out media to satisfy a personal need.
. while there are no clues about how users perceive those message and what they get from them. U&G Theory does help in understanding the selections that people actively make from the media. Lull suggested instead that audiences don’t accept always the content of media and moreover not all media are meant to provide gratification or to satisfy a need for entertainment in people. (This perspective is not complex enough to aid in understanding many forms of behavior. individuals may seek exposure to specific forms of media content because what they do at work requires it. 2010).
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