Originated in the 1970s as a reaction to traditional mass communication research emphasizing the sender and the message. Stressing the active audience and user instead. Psychological orientation taking needs, motives and gratifications of media users as the main point of departure
The model implies that the media has the weakest effect on audiences. It starts by stating that audiences are smart, thinking, active and creative human beings. The term gratifications is used because apparently, the audience uses media for their own pleasures and interests (gratifications).
McQuail and Lull suggest that audiences use the media for gratification in a variety of ways:
Diversion: As an escape from the real world (Love Island).
Personal relationships: To be able to interact with family members and friends. Mass culture operates as a unifying culture whereby audiences can use key themes as sentence starters and hooks.
Personal Identity: Media allows us to explore different cultures and adopt them, especially with an increase in globalisation.
Surveillance: To assess how the world can impact us e.g. Brexit. (It does not involve stalking people sadly).
Background wallpaper: This is having social media in the background at all time, staying online etc.
Patrick (2009) surveyed members on Facebook and highlighted the reasons why they were active on this software. The findings were: Diversion,, personal relationships, personal identify and surveillance. This shows that the audience clearly reacts to the media and uses it for their own purpose. The highlights the difficulty in assessing the media and its impact as the effect on the individual is unique and different. Top Gear and Love Island will have totally different audiences therefore we cannot generalise the impact of media. It also accounts why media companies are bought/ sold/ fail because they fail to attract audiences. Take a look at the expansionism of Disney.