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Sunday, 6 February 2011

Audiences, stakeholders and publics

These three terms make us confused very often. What's the difference between them? Is there any?

When we talk about audience we think about those people whom we send our message to. In other words, they are receivers of our message. Therefore, we often tend to connect that term with such determiners as ‘active’ and ‘passive’. A passive audience refers to those receivers of a message, who don’t engage with the media content they receive. An active audience, on the other hand, represents those, who engage with the media content. The clear example of passive audience may be the TV/radio/newspaper audience, and active audience are social media users.

Term stakeholders is related to those subjects (individual people, employees, organizations, communities, companies, customers, suppliers, media, government, distributors, etc.) “who have a stake or interest in a particular organisation, i.e. they depend on the organisation to fulfill their own goals and on whom, in turn, the organisation depends”. (Tench,Yeomas; 2006)

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Difference between stakeholders and publics is very blurry, but when publics are distinguished they are meant to be “stakeholders that face a problem or have an issue with the organisaion. Thus stakeholders are potential publics, the critical factor being the arrival of a problem or issue. (…) when such a problem or issue arises, stakeholders organise to  become publics and are able to affect the interests of the organisation.” (Tench,Yeomas; 2006)

1.     Tench, R., Yeomans, L., (2006). Exploring Public Relations. Harlow: Financial Times Prentice Hall.


  1. I am always searching online for articles that can help me. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also. Keep working, great job!
    Public Relations