Week 9 – Media Audiences

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In the first reading, Couldry aims at providing a transparent perspective on the meaning of ‘contemporary audience’. To explain this he provides three phases in the development of the audience (Abercrombie and Longhurst 1998) and: the first being ‘simple audience’ which describes audiences most suited to theatre and books (before media age), the second ‘mass audience’ which describes the audience for late nineteenth to early twentieth century and the third ‘diffused audience’, an audience of the contemporary times. Additionally while he acknowledges Abercrombie and Longhurst’s three phases, he argues that the concept of diffused audience is diffused across space and there are additional risks that come to play including the’ risk of emphasising processes of social fragmentation’. To solve this problem, he proposes ‘extended audience’ as an appropriated term for ‘diffused audience’ as a means of correctly defining our sense of media, not just in the audience – but everywhere else. Additionally it allows us to ‘capture the huge range of ways in which we are oriented towards media and deal with them in our lives’. To support this, he provides an instance where one could be travelling anywhere but at the same time be ‘inundated with signs of the presence of media’. Moreover, Couldry highlights a number of issues ‘audience research’ entails, grouping them into three types: technologies, social/spatial and experiential. Also, a further issue brought in this discussion is the argument of media audience being dispersed spatially through blurring roles of production and consumption as well as being deeply embedded in the world of media. I think this particular article raises a number of relevant issues that society can question, particularly the idea of media being embedded into our lives. It is clear that by now, since the turn of the era, specific technologies have evolved, and in turn we as the audience continue to change to institute these media in accordance with our daily lives. For instance, the constant advertisements of media compel audiences to keep an iron hold on their technologies as a means of assisting their daily life – this indicates the stronghold media has had throughout the ages. The second article by Haddon explores ‘the merits of looking at mediated communication’. Haddon executes this by delving into the modern communication technologies as a means of explaining the forms of media research. Through the article we are able to understand the extent to which media has evolved over the past year – more than we have comprehended. As our technologies evolve each time, our perspectives on the latter are also evolving, thus becoming increasingly complex. In order to research this, Haddon proposes a number of questions that are deemed effective in determining why this is, the first particularly being the boundaries of the object of study. Repertoire was an object of study in which case, allowed researchers the ability to gain an understanding of ‘the patterns of use and choice’ of separate audiences. For instance, the introduction of the iPhone has caused such a phenomenon in today’s network society. While it is quiet pricey, people tend to purchase this particular phone as it compiles all the necessary media people rely on i.e. mobile phone, internet, music player etc. With this hybrid design of a touch screen and multiple functions consumers are captivated. For this example, Haddon would most probably ask the reasons as to why one would purchase an iPhone when consumers may already have access to both mobile and internet.

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