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Uses and gratifications, also known as usage and gratifications or needs and gratifications, is not a single approach but a body of approaches to media analysis that developed out of many varied empirical studies, beginning in the mid 20th century.

The basic theme of uses and gratifications is the idea that people use the media to get specific gratifications.

The basic tenet of uses and gratifications (called UG for short) is that people are not helpless victims of all powerful media, but use media to fulfil their various needs. These needs serve as motivations (gratifications sought) for using media. Gratifications obtained should correspond with gratifications sought for the media to be able to meet the needs of the users.

Jay G. Blumler and Elihu Katz devised their uses and gratifications model to highlight four areas of gratification in media texts for audiences. These include:

  1. Diversion — a media text which provides escapism for the audience, for example a holiday program.
  2. Personal relationships — a media text provides information for 'water-cooler talk' at work with colleagues, what's happening in the latest reality TV show?
  3. Personal identity — for example, characters in soap operas experiencing something the audience once did.
  4. Surveillance — lets the audience know what is happening in the world, for example print and broadcast news.
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