Hypodermic needle model;

What is it?

This theory started during the World Wars. The United States and German armies influenced people’s minds. For example the German leader Hitler used the film industry to create propaganda were they produced films about work they had done and this brain washed the people from Germany. On the other side of the world the Americas used there film industry to make films which then made out that the Germans was bad.

Basically, this theory is about feeding people information (Linear Communication) from the media into their minds without them knowing about it. The media can be described as the needle this feeds the message or the information into the audiences mind, this then leads to change in behaviour towards the message given. The audience that this information is given to is described as passive, which means the audience cannot resist the message, which is being given from the media.


  • This way of communication is good for getting information across to wider audiences of people because it is being fed to them.
  • There is a captive audience


  • Doesn’t give the audience a balance viewed
  • Is very one dimensional

An example of this would be the film such as SAW which involves killing people if someone who are younger watches this they may think it is something they can do without getting into trouble. This is because they have watched the film. This would normally affect people who have mental issues or who are mentally unstable.

Another example was the radio drama which was created in the 1930’s which was called ‘War of the Worlds’ this was a radio drama about aliens from Mars landing on earth and taking it over. The drama was broadcast in a news bulletin style, which made it believable for the people who was listening to it. This radio drama caused a lot of problems with people because it started a lot of panic.






Uses and gratifications theory;

What is it?

This theory looks at how people affect the media. Within this theory, it defines how mass communication works because it gives information on how the audience is centred. This theory, then looks into how people change to certain specific media needs and how it satisfies people’s needs. For example, people would refer to the media and use it as topic to talk about with themselves. The audience is known as active, which means they will have a little more power. This means people are not powerless consumers when it comes to mass media because they are able to get certain gratification and needs. These can be broken down into 5 different sections:

Cognitive needs

Affective needs

Personal Integrative needs

Social Integrative needs

  • Tension free needs

Cognitive needs

  • The media can be used for gathering knowledge on anything factual or opinion based. For example this type of audience or person may have intellectual needs to gather information. For example people have different needs and uses of them could be the news on the TV because people can gather information that suits their needs or a quiz show was they can learn new information by watching the program.
  • An example of this is some who watches documentary films on certain topics to gather information on a topic that they are interested in.
  • Another example would be someone buying a photography magazine simply to learn about a certain topic that is in the magazine.


  • The audience is active and want to listen to the message being given
  • The audience is likely to have prior knowledge of the subject and can look at it objectively


  • The opinion being given may not always be correct which could influence the person watching the programme
  • There is a narrower base of people wanting to watch the programme

Affective needs

  • This involves the emotions and the moods of the audience. People can use music and films to help suit their needs. For example someone would watch a mountain biking film simply to get thrills out of the action that is involved in the sport and what the film is about.
  • Music also plays an important part on how it affects peoples emotion for example in a film there is someone dying in a scene in the film there would then be sad music in the background which then tells the audience or viewer how they should feel when watching it.


  • Sets the scene and puts the subject matter into context


  • Relies on people’s emotions and not everyone is the same

Personal integrative needs

  • This topic is based on how it affects people’s self-esteem. Certain people use the media to make sure they are comfortable with themselves. For example they do this because it can get them some credibility and make them feel stable. An example of this would be if someone see or hears and advertisement they would then go out and buy the product that is mention and this then helps them have a status which makes them part of society then. This then shows that people change their lifestyle and this because the media helps them


  • Is aimed at certain people and genre and they will be influenced by the message


  • Has a narrow base and relies on the viewer wanting to receive the message being given

Social integrative needs

  • This theory encourages the audience or the individual to socialise with people such as their family and friends. In today’s world there aren’t very many social gatherings now because people can socialise from their rooms by using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter and this can satisfy their needs.
  • An example is that someone who likes Games of Thrones and one of their friends sees them sharing it on Facebook it may encourage other people to start watching it because there friends are interested it.
  • An example of this is that if someone is listening to a new band on Spotify. What you are listening to on Spotify is then displayed on your Facebook page and if someone sees it they may be encouraged to listen to it.


  • Can have major impact on a brand and quickly broaden the message at low cost
  • Social media reaches a wider audience and can proliferate quickly


  • Can be very one dimensional and you are relying on other people sharing their experiences on the subject
  • Social media can result in negative comments as well as positive

Tension free needs

  • Sometimes people like to use the media to escape and relax from pressure. For example people like to use entertainment to watch films or listen to music these then let people relax.
  • People find films relaxing because it is something that they are interested in and they let zone out from any problems that they are having in their life. People also listen to music to relax because people may find certain genres of music relaxing and maybe the words in the song relates to what is happening in their life which then reassures them.


  • Relieves tension and stresses of day to day life


  • Does allow any interaction




In this section of the report I am going to compare the different research models that I have talked about. My first comparssion is between the Hypodermic Needle Model and the Uses and Gratifications Theory.

Hypodermic Needle Model Vs Uses and Gratifications Theory

The hypodermic needle model is about feeding people the information without them knowing it, which means they have no control over the information that is being fed to them. This is not positive, because it makes them powerless. However it is good for the media producer because it gets their message across to the audience and this can lead to change in how the person reacts to the information that is given to them. In Uses and Gratification Theory the audience get to choose if they are interested in the media product, which is being given to them. In this theory people can use the information for knowledge while in the Hypodermic needle model the audience have no choice in receiving the content or the suggested knowledge. They might not even use the information given to them. The Hypodermic Needle Theory is similar to brain washing the audience. The Uses and Gratifications Theory lets the audience choose if they are interested in the media product.

To conclude this comparison both these theories are considerably different because one theory is about giving the information to the audience without them knowing while the other theory is about the audience choosing whether they are interested in the media product.


Reception theory

This theory looks into how people react to media products and how that one person then understands it. Such products as music and films apply to this and it also depends on the content of the product and how it is produced. Different individuals can react in different ways; this is because of their background and how they have been brought up.

The band called Modest Mouse they have a song called Bukowski, which contains blasphemy toward god and people who are religious, might react to this song badly because of hate towards god that is mentioned in it. This is some of the lyrics from the song

“Woke up this morning and it seemed to me, 
that every night turns out to be 
A little more like Bukowski. 
And yeah, I know he’s a pretty good read. 
But God who’d want to be? 
God who’d want to be such an asshole? 
God who’d want to be? 

God who’d want to be such an asshole? 


  • Allows people to have their owns views


  • Can lead to bad reactions and bad press on a subject
  • It is reactive


In this section of the report I am going to compare the different research models that I have talked about. This second comparison is between the Reception Theory and the Uses and Gratifications Theory.


Uses and Gratifications Theory VS The Reception Theory

In Uses and Gratification Theory the audience get to choose if they are interested in the media product, which is being given to them. In this theory people can use the information for knowledge. The Reception Theory it is based on how the viewer reacts to the content they have seen and how it affects them. For example in the 9/11 film the viewer could be affected or upset by watching it due to the true life content and mass loss of life, but in the Uses and Gratification Theory the viewer makes the decision if they want to watch the 9/11 film because they may find the information given in the film could be useful because it taught them something they didn’t know. The main differences in these two theories are in the Reception Theory the producer create content for people to react too, which means the market is narrow because it is only aimed at people who would not be affected by it. While in the Uses and gradifcatioin Theory people choose to watch the content only if they are interested in which makes the market for the producer much wider because the viewer can choose to watch it instead of being put off by it.



Active consumption

This is how the audience reacts to media products and messages, which relates to them by life experiences that they have had. Some people then may pick up the message in a different way so they would then question it.

This type of consumption shows that audience have their own minds on how they react to media products. For example in the film unstoppable this is about a runaway train in America. People may find this film unrealistic because two people tried to stop a train with another train, which seems unrealistic to some people but other people may find it is possible. This then shows that people can choose to believe if something is true or not.


  • Allows audience participation


  • Different message can be sent on a subject

Passive Consumption

This is when an audience doesn’t participate or thinks about the message that is given from a media product so they accept that it is true. This shows the media producers that we are all the same. For example a lot of films are based around this type of consumption because they want people to watch their films without any question for example in the film Titanic when one of the main characters Jack dies at the end. The producers of the film want the audience to think that this actually happened for example there could have been plenty of room on floating piece of wood for him but Rose might not have let him on it. So the producers made the audience believe that there wasn’t any room without actually thinking about it.

Another example would be during the World Wars the Hitler made all the Germans think that what they were doing was successful and they did this by making a newsreel films and they were based on the following topics the Military along with the industrial strength and how bad there enemies are.


  • Let’s people think the way the maker wanted them to and gives a certain message


  • Brainwashes people into thinking a certain way

Media producers can trick there audience into believing something is true for example in films sometimes the film is that realistic the audience would believe an example of this would be the Bair Witch Project.




In this section of the report I am going to compare the different research models that I have talked about. My third comparssion is between the Active Consumption and Passive Consumption


Active Consumption VS Passive Consumption

Both these theories are similar because they are based on how people consume the product that is being shown to them. In active consumption it based on how the person relates the product to their life and if they are interested in it. This means they have the power, which is similar to the Uses and Graidifctions Theory. Whilst in passive consumption it makes the audience believe that the message is true without thinking about it and this is very similar to the Hypodermic Needle Theory. Both these types of consumption both fit into the theories that I have mention in the above paragraphs.


Effects a­nd debates

In today’s world sexual and violent content is everywhere for examples there are mentions of it in music and the movies that you watch. Since we are that used to it we don’t pay very much attention to it because we are that used to seeing or hearing it.

This type of content can have effects on certain people for example if someone seen very violent content from a film when they were younger they may think in later life this is the right thing to do and they could end up being corrupt.

Therefore this type of content could lead to the raise of crime rates along sexual violent that is in films. For example if someone seen a sexual scene in a film they may think you are able to do that in real life and end up in serious trouble with the law.

An example where violence has affected younger people is in the murder case of Jamie Bulger. Jamie was a four-year-old boy who was dragged away by two ten year olds and he was tortured and murdered and then his body was found a set of railway tracks. These two boys who murder Jamie might have seen very violent content on a film and this encouraged them to try it on someone. From seeing that content means those children may not know right from wrong and this could lead to problems in later life.

Also violent and sexual content can also appear in musical content for example the rock band called Steel Panther has a song called “Glory hole” which talks about sex throughout it. Anyone who is young could listen to it and start repeating words out loud and they may not understand what they are saying and can in trouble for saying or mentioning words from in later life.

Sometimes watching violent content can also ending up giving a positive outcome because it would teach younger people that you shouldn’t do anything sexual or violent in real life.

How is this controlled?

There is an organisation called the BBFC and they put classifications on films that contain certain types of content such as violent or sexual content. On front of DVDs you normally see a number or a set off letters. These represent what age it is suitable for. As seen in the image below

These ages that are on DVDs are only recommendations, which don’t stop parents from buying them for their children. When the children or young people see the content in the video that there age isn’t recommended for it could cause them problems because the content they have seen isn’t suitable for them. Sometimes In shops the buyer maybe asked to show ID, which proves there the right age for the content that they are buying.

There are also ratings for music for example on front of CD there is a label saying Parental Advisory Explicit Content. This means that there is content in the lyrics of the music, which are unsuitable for younger audiences, or people who aren’t into this type of music.

The reason why they have age limits and labels is because it is aimed at to protect people below the recommended age or label.






My research

I have create a focus group based on age ratings and sexual content.

My first question was “Do you think the age ratings on DVD are useful?” Everyone who answered this question came to the same result which yes and then the person had their reasons why they said yes, which shows that the people who answered this understand what the age ratings are used for. The results show that people understand that the age ratings are there to protect younger people.

In my second question I ask my group “Do you think violent and sexual content desensitizes young people?” And a lot of people said yes and gave their reasons for example, someone said “Yes, becausethey think its normal and will copy it” this could be the possible effect that this content could have on young people which is bad because it will change people and from doing this focus group I found out that a lot of people agree on the same.

For my third question in focus group I asked the group “Do you feel comfortable watching a sexual or violent scene in a film?” the result came back mixed, forexample, some people felt uncomfortable while others felt comfortable which then shows that people feel different about this type of content and this shows that those people have been desensitized because of the content they have seen.

In my final question I asked the group “How often would you see violent or sexual content?” all the people from the focus group said they see it a lot which shows that this type of content is in our everyday lives which then shows that it is hard to avoid because it is so common and there is it hard to restrict young people from seeing this content due to how common it is.


In my final part of my task I created a survey based on the topics I have chosen which was: Film and Music.

In my first question I asked what their gender was and 100% came back as male. This shows more males were more interested in this type of survey. For this section I would have liked more females to answer the survey

In my second question I asked people their age which helps break down the age range that are interested in this topic. In my results I got mixed ages back which also shows the age groups who would be interested in this topic. As you can see from the results below, more people 18-24 answered the survey because these topics mainly affect them. Reason for this is because people that age are interested in films and music.



In my third question I asked, “Do you think age ratings on DVDs and Films are useful” 66.67% of people who answered the question said Yes and 33.33% said No. The reason I think people said yes because they are useful to work out If the film is suitable for them or not unlike the people who said no they may think that the age ratings don’t really matter anymore.

The following was aimed at the people who said yes and I have got one-sided results, which shows that people understand what this topic is about and they all agree it is a good idea to have the age ratings. For example someone said “Shops will not sell DVD’s that are rated 18+ to anyone under the age, as it is not suitable for them” this is true because a lot of shops ask for ID when buying certain age rated DVD because the shops have to obey by the law in selling DVD’s to people. If they sell a DVD to someone underage this could end up causing that younger person problems because of the content they have seen in the DVD that they have purchased.

In my 5th question I asked “Do you think Explicit Content labels on CD’s are followed correctly?” in the results that I got for this question were 50/50 which shows that people have an equal opinion on this topic and the labels on CD’s are not as heavily control like DVD’s because it’s only an advisory label. So it the buyers own choice to buy unlike DVD’s were shop keepers have to request you for ID to prove your age.


In my 6th question I asked “Do you think Violent and Sexual content in Films affect younger audiences?” the results came back as mixed which shows that there is mixed opinion is true. 66.67% said yes while the other 33.33% of people said No, which shows that more people agree that it does have an effect.

In the following question I asked if you ticked yes, please tell us why? In the results of this question I got a lot of answers which are all one sided and they are all along the same lines which shows a lot of people agree about this topic. This shows that people also think it wrong.



From my findings in my survey I have established that a lot of people think film ratings are important because it tells the viewer if the content is suitable for them. But I found out the ratings and labels, which are on CD’s, aren’t looked at as much, with few people paying attention to them. From doing the survey I found out a lot of people in the age range 18-24 answered it and this is because this is a topic that can affect them when buying age rated products. From doing this research I have learned that a lot of people agree on the same topics which are to do with age ratings.

The reason why media producers make their products based around sexual and violent content is because they know that it will sell in the shops. A lot of people love violent content for example the action contained in films like ‘Die Hard’, but media producers also realise that sexual content which can be seen in films such as ‘American Pie’ are an attraction for many viewers. The real problem with this content is that too many young people are starting to see it, which then can cause problems with them in later life. This can be attributed to the nature of the content that they have seen in the films and they could try to imitate the actions they have viewed. The Hypodermic Needle Theory could play a part in this because these films could fill innocent heads with information that desensitizes them and makes people think what they are doing is correct. The Uses and Gratifications theory could also play a part in this because people can then choose to believe that it is right to do these actions scenes in films. Overall it is down to how the viewer or audience chooses to react to the content viewed.

Every film that you would see in the cinema has an age rating. This provides information about the age range of people who are deemed suitable for the film. There should be a stricter age rating system in place because you will find that a lot of children look more mature than they really are which means cinemas let them into films which they are not suitable nor legally allowed to see. So there should be stricter rules on seeing films for example people who look old enough to be on their own should be made to produce ID before being allowed into see the film. For example in South Korea a lot of violence and sexual content is banned in films, they deal with this by blurring out the violent or sexual content, which is displayed on the screen.

Reaction Videos


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Communication Theory, (2014). MAGIC BULLET OR HYPODERMIC NEEDLE THEORY OF COMMUNICATION. [online] Available at: http://communicationtheory.org/magic-bullet-or-hypodermic-needle-theory-of-communication/.

Communication Theory, (2014). Uses and gratification theory. [online] Available at: http://communicationtheory.org/uses-and-gratification-theory/.

Mediafort.wordpress.com, (2014). Active and passive consumption | Media Fort. [online] Available at: https://mediafort.wordpress.com/tag/active-and-passive-consumption/.

Regrettable music, (2014). Steel Panther Death To All But Metal. [image] Available at: http://www.regrettablemusic.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/steel-panther.jpg.

SongMeanings, (2011). Modest Mouse – Bukowski Lyrics | SongMeanings. [online] Available at: http://songmeanings.com/songs/view/3530822107858489932/.

Turner, P. (2013). I Love That Film: Active Spectatorship: The Relationship between Audiences and Films Part 1. [online] Ilovethatfilm.blogspot.co.uk. Available at: http://ilovethatfilm.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/the-relationship-between-audiences-and.html.