Most of the theories on media explained about the effects media had on people. It is the theory which explains of how people use media for their need and gratification. In other words we can say this theory states what people do with media rather than what media does to people. Also this theory is contradictory to the magic bullet theory which states the audience is passive. According to uses and gratification theory, it is not so people make use of the media for their specific needs. This theory can be said to have a user/audience-centered approach .Even for communication (say inter-personal) people refer to the media for the topic they discuss with themselves. They gain more knowledge and that is knowledge is got by using media for reference. There are several needs and gratification for people they are categorized into five categories.

  • Cognitive needs
  • Affective needs
  • Personal Integrative needs
  • Social Integrative needs
  • Tension free needs

Cognitive needs:

People use media for acquiring knowledge, information etc., Among the audience some of them have intellectual needs to acquire knowledge this is not common to all only certain people have their need, each person have a different need for e.g. quiz programs on TV, in order to acquire knowledge and information you will watch news to satisfy the need, search engines in the internet, they make use of these to gain more knowledge. Particularly for the internet search engine they can browse for any topic under the run with no time restriction.

Affective needs:

It includes all kinds of emotions, pleasure and other moods of the people. People use media like television to satisfy their emotional needs

The best example is people watch serials and if there is any emotional or sad scene means people used to cry.

Personal Integrative needs:

This is the self-esteem need. People use media to reassure their status, gain credibility and stabilize. so people watch TV and assure themselves that they have a status in society for e.g. people get to improve their status by watching media advertisements like jewelry ad , furniture’s ad and buy products, so the people change their life style and media helps them to do so.

Social Integrative needs:

It encompasses the need to socialize with family, friends and relations in the society. For social interaction now a days people do not seems to have social gathering in weekend, instead they do such social interaction using media like the social networking sites like my space, facebook, orkut etc to satisfy their need.

Another example is you may not watch the particular serial regularly but because your friend watching, you also start watching so that you have common topics for discussion.

Tension free needs:

People sometimes use the media as a means of escapism and to relieve from tension

For e.g. People tend to relax watching TV, listening to radio and for satisfying their need for entertainment there by relaxing from all the tension, people watch films, films on TV etc

Note: The needs are individual in nature, and how u satisfies the need is individualistic.

E.g.: That’s why some watch news to relax and some get more tension by watching news, Program is same but people use it for different needs.

Taking TV today, most people watch reality shows because

  • It is more realistic
  • For entertainment
  • Interesting
  • New concepts (different from other programs)
  • In a way you can participate
  • Controversy, people crying
  • Sensationalism

The above reason is why we watch and how we use not because it’s popular.

Criticism of Uses and gratification theory :

  • The uses and gratification theory does not consider the power of media
  • More audience-centered
  • Positive point of the uses and gratification theory is it focuses attention on individuals in the mass communication process.

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Gen November 28, 2010 at 11:27 pm

Thank you so much for sharing this. This is well-written and well explained. Although this communication theory is one of the first to be conceptualized, still it applies to the way people would use the media especially with the advent of the Internet that even proves that the media isn’t just a tool but as a part of a person’s daily needs.

Gregoria .Valcin April 1, 2011 at 1:16 am

I really enjoy the comments, i think it’s informative, good analysis. I thank you for sharing i am taking a class in communication and it really helps me in be more analytical. Gregoria.

mecksy August 18, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Thanks to whoever wrote this. You totally rolled on point, and i understand this topic better. Thanks for helping out!

kelvin August 27, 2011 at 8:48 am

this article is really wonderful, it points out the psychological effect of infomation on people.

pheelah September 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm

well explained, thanks for your contribution to humanity

Blessing October 2, 2011 at 3:43 am

It’s simple and well explained. It has helped me in my assignment

Seraphim October 16, 2011 at 11:25 pm

Is AFFECTIVE NEEDS new?, because according to Denis Mcquail the user has 4 basic needs.

Surveillance/information – cognitive
personal identity – personal integrative
personal relationships/integration &social – social integrative
diversion/entertainment -tension free

mat power October 18, 2011 at 3:49 pm

gud one audience are neither passive nor in total control of media texts

maclean October 19, 2011 at 2:44 pm

it is good that this theory put emphasis on the audience but however, it must be noted that the media have the power to shape and direct human houses are profit oriented and are affected by ownership and a nutshell the content is determined by those who own the media and the audience are subjected to the views of the owner.

Diana Nhira October 22, 2011 at 12:18 pm

thanks its really helpful ,i can easly understand the topic well.may the continue 2 bless u with more wisdom

Mutingwende Andrew November 3, 2011 at 5:44 pm

It opens up the brains and curses ignorance from it.I wish you would add up a bit

Dolapo Oluwa November 29, 2011 at 7:52 pm

Beautiful Piece….Helped me for my project

Zach December 6, 2011 at 6:00 am

thanks for the info dawg!!

Mike Mustafa February 24, 2012 at 4:43 am

Thanks for the detailed down-to-earth discussion on a topic that’s not so down-to-earth. I am writing my dissertation on Facebook use. I need an official definition of this term. Can you help me, please.

Courtney March 9, 2012 at 6:55 pm

i love you

Stan Ofulue March 28, 2012 at 8:58 am

Thanks so much for this wonderful and timely post, it is well explain and I have better knowledge and explanation of the topic for my exams. Remain blessed.

Ikem Benard May 26, 2012 at 12:31 am

this is a well articulated, yet precise treatment of the U & G theory, identifying perspectives undiscussed about U & G…… for future research (heuristically provocating).

Zadok June 2, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Thank you so much for your informative and educative explanation.I am really happy for this,because I am going to take a test under this topic.

ahmed June 4, 2012 at 3:08 am

perfectly explained..i needed that for my exam tomorrow.. thankyou so much
could not get any better!!

suhail June 10, 2012 at 1:19 pm

thanks for apologize

Masija Buchafwe August 16, 2012 at 1:11 am

It is preciously elaborated with simple language. Kudos for this brilliant and intellectual sharing.

iCovington September 1, 2012 at 10:57 am

Studies in the usage and gratification theory also suggest that the audience activity ranges. In his report, “Uses and Gratifications Theory in the 21st Century”, Thomas E. Ruggiero indicates that, “different individuals tend to display different types and amounts of activity in different communication settings and at different times in the communication process” (Ruggiero, T. (2009, 11 17). This would be dependent on what level income, stress and attachment to media. Among those media outlets were television and newspapers.

Angela September 3, 2012 at 10:17 pm

Thank you so much for this post, I had to Do a presentation on this topic in Class. Helped me a lot..<3<3<3

olusayo foyeke omole September 19, 2012 at 8:06 pm

its a wonderful and nice write up,its indeed a brilliant one•GREAT

Nimmak Rebecca seldun September 30, 2012 at 4:58 am

This is wonderful explanation, it’s well understood. This is really preparing me 4 my exams. Thanks alot

Shailaj Nepal December 14, 2012 at 9:06 pm

Most of the theories on media explained about the effects media had on people. It is the theory which explains of how people use media for their need and gratification.

it is good explanation ,, it is helpful ,

Mishael Mose December 16, 2012 at 10:59 pm

This is a wonderful piece, well explained and simple, thank you

sassy hassan February 18, 2013 at 12:01 am

this piece of work is splendid. i now understand this theory perfectly.

fungai kapfurutsa April 13, 2013 at 2:33 am

thank you.well documented and very easy to understand. you made my day

olivia November 23, 2013 at 9:29 pm

thanks so much, very helpful.
and im so torchered by my essay….damn

premo ndovi February 27, 2014 at 7:36 pm

This topic has helped me in my assignment very interesting it focuses on real events

sheroze malik June 9, 2014 at 9:23 am

easy to understand

vinay October 30, 2014 at 11:48 pm

very good

ahsan November 3, 2014 at 10:49 pm

the information being discussed here seems to be providing brief but effective one.

Agnes Almasy November 11, 2014 at 7:14 pm

Thank you so much for a brief explanation, it helped me in my assignment. God bless you.

Lim November 22, 2014 at 1:04 pm

how to write a conclusion based on this topic

Madhu December 7, 2014 at 12:18 pm

excellent and thank you so much.

yusta December 9, 2014 at 8:53 am

thanks for the really helped me in my final examination

sunny astory December 26, 2014 at 9:14 pm

well Don sir Great explanation

fentonepaul January 26, 2015 at 12:20 am

very well explained..really was in need of this topic..needed to submit it to my proffessor..thank you

jimmy February 2, 2015 at 7:20 am

thank you for this, I am having a University Exams (UE) today, I have found this very informative, and it has satisfied my needs (cognitive needs) ha ha haaaa!

kwathini February 6, 2015 at 9:30 pm

thanks i enjoyed your information but how do you write the conclution

Olajide Owolabi February 8, 2015 at 12:56 am

An incisive mind.Well written.Please,l need more info on this for my project.Thanks

Lois February 25, 2015 at 2:27 pm

i love mo and harry

nada November 12, 2015 at 5:02 pm

this is a very good post

SUMONA MAHI September 5, 2016 at 12:34 am


Liad Tella October 2, 2016 at 5:40 pm

This is a very apt and straight to the point presentation for both students and researchers. However, my opinion is that two major criticisms of the theory are very weak. the audience and the media are in symbiotic relationship. Influence is rather dual-lane rather than a single lane traffic. the media tries to satisfy the audience advertisers with good editorial producs; the audience influences the media by either effective demand for print media products or tunning in to tv/radio programs or refusal of patronage that will snd the media out of business.
Secondly,that the the theory emphasis positive reports to the detriment of negative report is equally challenge-able. in Nigeria, any media that become government megaphone or mouth piece of a group never lasted on the newsstand.

Abubakar Saadu Bebeji November 21, 2016 at 3:13 am

To be candid, this theory of communication is an unavoidable to the students, teachers and other researchers who wish to get clear cut statement about communication. I have nothing to say rather than to forward my gratitude and respect to the author and wish him more strength to continue providing important, genuine and reliable information.

amiee December 1, 2016 at 3:22 pm

Thank you it really helped me for my exams

sameer December 1, 2016 at 6:45 pm


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: