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.
Principles of Audience Formation and Continuity
Those whose task it is to smooth the path of the media machine must pay close attention to the causes and dynamics of audience formation. In circumstances of intense intermedia competition and constant change it is not enough to have “historical” knowledge of audience size and composition. It is also necessary to anticipate and lead audience tastes and interests. This is primarily a matter of professional skill, intuition, and luck, but it can be assisted by a deeper knowledge of what makes audiences tick. Theorists are also interested in what motivates individuals to join audiences and in the balance of forces that maintains them.
Broadcast television still attracts the highest share ...