COMM THEORIES - Task The uses and gratifications argument...

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Task: The uses and gratifications argument offers opportunities for innovation Introduction Blumler and Katz’s uses and gratification theory suggests that media users play an active role in choosing and using the media. Users take an active part in the communication process and are goal oriented in their media use. The theorists say that a media user seeks out a media source that best fulfils the needs of the user. Uses and gratifications theory assumes that the user has alternate choices to satisfy their need. The theory places more focus on the consumer, or audience, instead of the actual message itself by asking “what people do with media” rather than “what media does to people” (Katz, 1959). It explains how and why people adopt a certain media to satisfy their needs. ASSUMPTIONS OF THE USES AND GRATIFICATION THEORY Audience is active and its media use is goal oriented. People have various uses (needs) they seek to satisfy through media. Audiences take initiative to link need gratification to a specific media. People have enough self-awareness of their own media use, interests, and motives. Value judgments of media content can only be assessed by the audience The media compete with other sources for need satisfaction. ‘Media usage can be explained in that it provides gratifications (meaning it satisfies needs) related to the satisfaction of social and psychological needs’. Put simply this means that audiences choose to watch programmes that make them feel good (gratifications) e.g. soaps and sitcoms, or that give them information that they can use (uses) e.g. news or information about 1
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new products or the world about them. The audience chooses what media to consume based on these needs (gratification sought). Their needs are fulfilled when they get what they are seeking (gratification obtained). Based on this argument, it can be concluded that the audience’s choice informs the media on what to offer (productions and publications). It is important to note that many media houses are competing to win the audience by producing programs and publications that satisfy their needs. For a media house to compete successfully, the quality of their programs and publications has to be high in terms of meeting the demands of its audience. This requires a highly creative mind, hence innovation.
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