Uses and Gratification
Many studies have been dedicated to the purpose of the communicator in relaying a message. Uses and gratification is a shift to studying the purpose of the receiver and not the communicator.
The word “uses” is explained as ‘What people do with media’. Sometimes the theory is called Needs and Gratifications instead of Uses and Gratifications. Those needs are determined by personality, social background, age etc.
As for the word gratification, it means the gratification that viewers seek to achieve for themselves through their choice of media content. People watch mass media for different reasons, but at the end they all have one aim; personal gratification. Relaxation, entertainment, learning, self awareness, excitement, social interaction, passing time, escapism are all forms of gratification. Sometimes media users are active and selective in their processing of media messages and sometimes they are using media just out of habit. However in any case it is an individual choice or preference, therefore it is in many cases influenced by mood, for example those who are bored tend to watch exciting material while people who are stressed tend to watch programs of relaxing content. Also the same television program may gratify different needs for different individuals; one person may watch a program like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire to acquire knowledge, another may watch solely for entertainment, a third person watching the same program may find gratification in answering the questions and proving to himself or others that he is knowledgeable. Another example could be in advertisements, some may watch to enjoy the music or graphics, and others may watch to be informed.
The Uses and Gratification Theory thus challenges the power of the media. In other words, if people have more control over the media or programs that they choose to watch, then media must have less power to influence than previously thought.
The internet and...