Just seen this question and answer (taken from a textbook called Being Sociological).
Approaches to media that see the audience as a passive mass of spectators are known as:
Hypodermic needle models
I find it quite interesting as there appears to be an ever increasing shift away from this model. I have been noticing more and more that a less passive model is appearing in the daily discourse. Broadcasters are realising more and more that their audience aren’t a bunch of knuckle dragging imbeciles that should be kept at arms length lest they contanimate the cultural froth (or that they still think exactly that but you can’t stop people in the days of t’internet, multi channel TV, etc.). But whatever the reasons I welcome the change, I am fed up with being spoken to by The Media as if I am an idiot that has to be subjected to a constant barrage of bright colours, metaphorical smoke and mirrors imagery operating on a clever ‘subconscious’ level (read sex and a better lifestyle). I welcome a more two way conversation maybe then we can say, you know what, that advert – it demeans me and lots of others, stop it.
— Sent from my comfortable office chair —