mass audience

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In mass society theory in the early days of the mass media, and in the rhetoric of both right- and left-wing cultural critics, the pejorative representation of mass media audiences as a vast, undifferentiated collectivity (see manipulative model). For Mills, mass society replaced the pluralism of multiple publics. Contemporary perspectives within both academic disciplines and the media industries see audiences in far more differentiated terms (see target audience). Furthermore, the size of audiences or readerships for the same content in any mass medium has been dramatically reduced with the widespread diffusion of technological developments such as the web and satellite broadcasting (see audience fragmentation; demassification).

Subjects: Media Studies.

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