There are many reasons why people watch television including entertainment, to get information, to keep up with fashion and trends among others. Theorists have proposed some theories to explain why people watch television and why people interpret what they watch the way they do. Theories that explain this phenomenon include the uses and gratification theory, the hypodermic needle model and the reception theory. The theories offer divergent perspectives on why people watch television and although the perspectives and in opposition to each other they offer good insight on the subject matter. The three theories are the focus of this paper so they are used to offer insight on the reasons people watch television.
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
One of the recent important theories that concentrate on enjoyment that media consumers get from media is Disposition Theory. As states Arthur A. Raney in his article, “Why do we like what we like?” considered as the main question that needed to find answer by social scientists (Raney, 2006, p3). What is Disposition Theory? The theory first theorized by Zillman and Cantor in 1972. Disposition theory mainly focuses on enjoyment that audience gets from presented entertainment.
Scholars have defined persuasion in different ways. According to communication scholars, “persuasion is a symbolic process in which communicators try to convince other people to change their attitudes or behavior regarding an issue through the transmission of a message, in an atmosphere of free choice” (Perloff, 2003). In short, persuasion is an act or process of presenting arguments to move, motivate, or change the audience. We see different forms of persuasion in our daily lives; from morning to night. When we are watching TV, we see people advertising their products to persuade their audience to buy their products.
When we look at the many media outlets provided to all Americans it makes you wonder, how does the media we consume effect our daily thoughts and how we live? Are we truly living out what we see on TV or are we all following some innate feeling deep down that we cant control. Most importantly what we worry about when it comes to the media of the outside world is, how does this effect my child, will this effect my child? When answering that question we need to look at a few things. When looking at how we are affected by our outside influences we must first look at if we even can be affected by outside influences or if our behavior is based on something more to do with our biological influences.
Subliminal messages are being replaced by high-definition TVs and certain high-tech gadgets that some believe have the ability to send certain frequency and energy patterns or codes that can influence your thought patterns. These controlling techniques are all intended to hypnotize your mind to a certain degree so they can influence the way you think. Why do they want to influence how you think? If companies can influence the way you think, they are able to make you do some things or buy their products in a way that you wouldn’t even be aware that you are being manipulated. From your perspective, you think that you are making your own choices, but at the subconscious level, your mind has been trained to take action on certain compulsive behaviours.
An interesting finding had been that most of the respondents are fond of watching TV advertisements, females being dominant. Another finding of the study was that the adults irrespective of their gender and area of residence strongly consider that TV advertisements had impact on their mind and the exposure to TV advertisements had not only enhanced their involvement in purchasing but had also resulted in increasing their frequency of
Currently the youth being taught, they are very much attentive of the false affirmations completed by the promoters in the TV publicizing. The impact of sponsoring relies upon the different workings like to what extent do the watch, the age, identity, the presentation and their debates about these TV ads with their folks. Publicizes aids both the sponsors and in addition the consumers. It gives data about the existing and in accumulation new items in the market to the customers. It enables the sponsors to focus on the correct group of observers through sponsoring (S John Gabriel, August 2006).
It gave the television executives and producers the power to shape viewers perspective of culture and society. With the invention of remote control and others technologies that allowed to control the TV programming (ex. on-demand) the continuous flow of content was disrupted. Audience gain power to make their own choices regarding viewing experience and behavior. The change that technologies imposed on classical notion of flow “signals a shift away from the programming-based notion of flow that Williams documented to a viewer-centered notion ”.
Reception analysis or audience reception theory emphasized on audience reception or interpretation in making meaning from a text. Stuart Hall was responsible and introduced this theory in 1973, later, it was published in 1980. In the early, this theory is a product of social-political context, whereas, the media text encode by the television program, and decode by the audience. The research done by Hall intentionally examine the BBC television current affairs programme called Nationwide. The reason Hall conducted this study due to (1) the programme reinforce the status quo and (2) to attract the audience from the middle and lower class.