Denis McQuail provides a coherent and succinct account of the concept of ‘media audience’ in terms of its history and its place in present-day media theory and research. McQuail describes and explains the main types of audience and the main traditions and fields of audience research. Audience Analysis explains the contrast between social scientific and humanistic approaches and gives due weight to the view ‘from the audience’ as well as the view ‘from the media.’ McQuail summarizes key research findings and assesses the impact of new media developments, especially transnationalization and new interactive technology.

A Concept with a History

A Concept with a History

A concept with a history

The Audience Problem

The word audience has long been familiar as the collective term for the “receivers” in the simple sequential model of the mass communication process (source, channel, message, receiver, effect) that was deployed by pioneers in the field of media research (see, e.g., Schramm, 1954). There is an established discourse in which “audience” simply refers to the readers of, viewers of, listeners to one or other media channel or of this or that type of content or performance. It also designates one branch of the subject matter in the study of mass communication and one main field of empirical research. It is a term that is understood by media practitioners and theorists alike and it ...

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