The overwhelming majority of Britons support the 9pm watershed that helps protect children from adult TV programming, a new study has found.

Under this system - which applies to cable and satellite broadcasters as well as terrestrial operators - programmes shown after the watershed can contain stronger material. The later the time, the more adult the show can be - for example, films given an 18 certificate cannot be transmitted before 10pm.

A report from the Independent Television Commission, the Broadcasting Standards Commission and the BBC found that 95% of adults who have heard of the watershed believe it should be maintained, while 72% of children think it is a good idea.

Most adults (78%) believe the system should apply to all channels. In general there is a high awareness of the watershed, though 43% do not know it applies to cable and satellite operators too.

Many viewers told the researchers that broadcasters should provide more details about the content of TV shows through listings and electronic programming guides.

The report can be downloaded from the ITC website.

Data sourced from: Independent Television Commission; additional content by WARC staff