In its earliest form audience theory believed that an audience was a mass. Blumer set out 4 stages:
1) Its membership may come from all walks of life, and from distinguishable social strata; it may include people of different class position, of different vocation, of different cultural attainment, and of different wealth.
2) The mass is an anonymous group, or more exactly is composed of anonymous individuals (Blumer means anonymous is the sense that unlike the citizens of earlier communities, the people who are members of the mass audience for the media do not know each other).
3) There exists little interaction or change of experience between members of the mass. They are usually physically separated from one another and, being anonymous do not have the opportunity to mill as do members of the crowd.
4) The mass is very loosely organized and is not able to act with the unity of a crowd.
- Mainstream - unlikely ever to view anything other than major 'Hollywood' style blockbusters
- Mainstream plus - generally mainstream, but apt to see less mainstream films on a few occasions
- Aficionados - tend to view a mix of films, including major foreign language titles, and can be encouraged to become even more adventurous in their viewing choices
- Film Buffs1 - eschew mainstream films in favour of more extreme, esoteric, challenging and difficult subject matter (specialised) films