Audience is a key concept in Media Studies and ideas about audiences and their relationship to media products and media institutions has changed considerably since the days of the Hypodermic Needle Theory. It is important that you explore these changes and developments, particularly as concern grows about the role of digital technology in changing audience behaviours and loyalties. Media Institutions are experiencing some anxiety, especially in television, newspapers and cinema about how they can respond to audiences that are now 'savvy' and demand interaction and participation in media products.

Audience Theory
The two articles below have been extracted from a great British site called

These advertisements we viewed in class and discussed. 'The Cougar' ad created an outbreak of emails and protest from women who considered it to be in 'bad taste' and the 'Italian Haka' ad was discussed in terms of cultural appropriation; was it 'right' for a maori cultural artifact to be used to sell cars and was performed by women?

The 'Pepsi Apology' advertisement we discussed in terms of the protest that raged across the United States and resulted in the advertisement being 'pulled' (removed from broadcasting) because so many women were offended at a) the stereotyping of women into categories and b) the ideas and values inherent in the text that suggested it was OK for men to 'hunt' women and target them for sexual relationships based on a pre-provided 'checklist' of what the men needed to know. Further, the information provided by mobile phone could be accessed while the 'men' were hunting and 'matched' to possible targets.
In class, it was acknowledged that the advertising agency that constructed this text may have seen it as 'innocent fun' and a way to capture the youth market to buy their application but, this is the point, people READ media texts according to their own beliefs and values and the women who were outraged at this advertisement were reading the text both critically and through the eyes of post-modern theory and feminism. This is exactly what us media teachers hope you will apply to your own evaluation of media texts. You won't necessarily 'agree' with these women or other sectors of the community but, hopefully, you will begin to analyse and challenge some of the media texts that surround us in an ever increasing bombardment.

The powerpoint and document here seek to explain how digital technologies are changing the nature of audiences and what strategies advertisers are using to build audiences off the back of social media sites on the Internet.

Social Media on the Internet

The following powerpoint explores the relationships between audiences and magazines; something that Year 12 students will need to consider carefully when they come to create your own magazine in this production module.

The following three articles are of a more academic nature but are worth battling your way through (with a dictionary at hand!) as they raise important issues and information about audience measurement and Esslemont's is especially useful about what people do when television advertisements come on (fascinating stuff!):