What changes have taken place to the ways in which the audience is perceived? How have audiences become fragmented in the search for ratings? What next for audience research in the 21st century? The study of 'audience' is a central concept in both media and cultural studies. Although it has become an academic fashion to turn away from the idea that groups of people can share common purpose or interests, there are still enough reasons for wanting to explore the way in which audiences behave, understand and interact with media in all their various forms. One of these reasons is the vast sums of money persistently expended by advertisers and broadcasters who are trying to give 'the audience' what 'it' wants. Critical Readings: Media and Audiences brings together some of the important developments in the history of audience and media studies and the significant research which has shaped the field until now. This collection of original research provides students and lecturers in media, film and cultural studies with a better understanding of the rationale, findings and forms of analysis undertaken at different points in the field's research-based career. Essays by John Banks, Nancy Baym, S. Elizabeth Bird, Jay G. Blumler, Philip Elliott, Marie Gillespie, Michael Gurevitch, Stuart Hall, James D. Halloran, Henry Jenkins, Elihu Katz, Gerald Kosicki, Paul Lavrakas, Paul Lazarsfeld, L.W. Lichty, Annette N. Markham, Eileen Meehan, Graham Murdock, Virginia Nightingale, Karen Ross, J.G. Webster.Virginia Nightingale is the author of 'Critical Readings: Media and Audiences (Issues in Cultural and Media Studies)', published 2003 under ISBN 9780335211661 and ISBN 0335211666.