Media Gratification Theory

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Uses & Gratifications and the Reality Television context.
Blumler and Katz’s ‘Uses and Gratification theory’ (1974) suggests that media users play an active role in choosing and using the media. This theory shifted the focus from what media do to the people to what people do with the media, thus it’s an audience centric theory.
It examines the nature of audience involvement and gratification obtained from viewing the television. The Uses Approach of this theory assumes that the viewers or the audiences are active and willingly expose themselves to media and that the most potent of mass media content cannot influence anyone who has no use for it, but, can only influence those viewers who have some use for the media in the environment he/she
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It helps to explain the motivations behind the media use and habits of media use or the actual needs satisfaction by the media are called media gratifications.
Contemporary U&G is grounded in the following five assumptions: (Papacharissi & Mendelson, 2007)
(a) “Communication behaviour, including media selection and use, is goal directed, purposive, and motivated”,
(b) “People take the initiative in selecting and using communication vehicles to satisfy felt needs or desires”’
(c) “A host of social and psychological factors mediate people’s communication behaviour”; (d) Media compete with other forms of communication for selection, attention, and use to gratify our needs or want”
(e) “People are typically more influential than the media in the relationship, but not always. (Rubin, 1994). 18 Applied to context of this research paper, U&G supports the understanding of viewer motives and predisposition, while placing Reality Television on the larger spectrum of communication channels that are more or less available to audience. It permits the study of both Instrumental and Ritualised uses of media, both of which could drive the appeal of Reality
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Concurrently, other viewers may be drawn to different types of Reality programming, especially if the content is perceived to be realistic and contains information that could be of use. Moreover, additional viewers might be drawn to a program so as to function effectively within daily social rituals at home or in the office, which involve the discussion of popular Reality shows.
Several researchers have classified the various uses and gratification which are very important is the diameter of this research, as these uses and gratifications will be the base for the further research Dominick (1993) :- Cognition:
It means the act of coming to know something. When a person uses a mass medium to obtain information about something then he or she is using the medium in a cognitive way. At the individual level, however, researchers have noted that there are two different types of cognitive functions that are performed.
One is to use the media to keep up with information on current events e.g. I want to know what is going on in the world.
The other is using the media to learn about things in general or things that relate to a 19 person’s general curiosity e.g. ‘the media give me ideas’. The use of the media in this way is linked to the fulfilment of a basic human
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