Britons Increasingly Wary of Falling TV Standards: ITC

19 March 2002

The number of Britons who believe that standards of programme-making have declined has risen to nearly half, according to new research from the Independent Television Commission.

Entitled The Public’s View, the survey is the thirty-first in a series of annual reports from the ITC, which for the first time has been combined with the yearly research into public opinion from the Broadcasting Standards Commission.

The proportion of respondents believing standards have fallen from previous years rose from 28% twelve months ago to 46%, some 51% of whom blamed ‘more repeats’. Fears of a decline in programme-making were especially evident among the young, with 77% of under-25s saying quality has fallen.

Other findings include:

* Drama, entertainment and factual programmes scored highest among viewers for interest. These categories were labelled interesting or very interesting by 77%, 78% and 83% respectively. Around 57%, 55% and 67% said these genres were an essential part of public service broadcasting.

* In contrast, just 31% of respondents were interested in children’s programming and 57% in educational shows, but 65% and 62% respectively saw these as important public service offerings.

* Some 52% thought there was sufficient regulation of commercial terrestrial broadcasters ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. Just 6% said there was too much and 35% too little.

* The proportion saying that the current amount of advertising is acceptable fell from 58% last year to 49%, with a rise in those saying there was too much already from 32% to 38%.

* Some attitudes towards ads themselves improved: more people thought they were well-produced (45% to 56%) and clever (39% to 44%), while those saying commercials interfered with viewing edged down from 52% to 51%.

* However, those saying ads were frequently or very frequently too loud surged from 16% last year to 41%; the proportion thinking they often encourage damaging stereotypes doubled to 20%; and the number believing commercials often or very often depict unsuitable behaviour which children may emulate jumped from 9% to 26%.

Data sourced from: Daily Research News Online; Independent Television Commission; additional content by WARC staff