Age, gender, and television in the UK

UPDATE: 24 July 2014 – this article is going to be published in the Journal of Popular Television but in order for that to happen I have had to remove the online draft version. I’ll add the post-print once its sorted out.

In December 2011 I published a post on genre preferences among UK cinema audiences, applying correspondence analysis to data from the BFI’s Opening Our Eyes report. You can read the article that was subsequently published in Participations last year here.

At the time I meant to write a follow up piece on genre preferences for UK television audiences using data from the same source but I never quite got round to it. I have now finished this analysis and the draft article can be found in the pdf file attached to this post. I also look at how age and gender affect audiences perceptions of television as a medium

We apply correspondence analysis to data produced for the BFI’s Opening Our Eyes report published in 2011 to discover how age and gender shape the experience of television for audiences in the UK. Age is an important factor in shaping how audience perceive television, with older viewers describing the medium as ‘informative,’ ‘thought provoking,’ ‘artistic,’ ‘good for people’s self-development,’ and ‘escapist’ and while younger viewers are more likely to describe television as ‘exciting,’ ‘fashionable,’ and ‘sociable.’ Younger respondents are also more likely to describe the effect of television on people/society as negative. Variation in programme choice is highly structured in terms of age and gender, though the extent to which of these factors determine audience choice varies greatly. Gender is the dominant factor in explaining preferences for some programme types with age a secondary factor in several cases, while age is the explanatory factor for other genres for which gender seemingly has little influence. Male audiences prefer sports, factual entertainment, and culture programmes and female audiences reality TV/talent shows, game/quiz/panel shows, chat shows, and soap operas. Older audiences prefer news, documentaries, and wildlife/nature programmes, while music shows/concerts and comedy/sitcoms are more popular with younger viewers.

The BFI report and the raw data can be accessed here.

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About Nick Redfern

I graduated from the University of Kent in 1998 with a degree in Film Studies and History, and was awarded an MA by the same institution in 2002. I received my Ph.D. from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2006 for a thesis title 'Regionalism and the Cinema in the United Kingdom, 1992 to 2002.' I have taught at Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Central Lancashire. My research interests include regional film cultures and industries in the United Kingdom; cognition and communication in the cinema; anxiety in contemporary Hollywood cinema; cinemetrics; and film style and film form. My work has been published in Entertext, the International Journal of Regional and Local Studies, the New Review of Film and Television Studies, Cyfrwng: Media Wales Journal, and the Journal of British Cinema and Television.

Posted on April 11, 2013, in British Television, Genre, Media Studies, Statistics, Television and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Sorry, I am afraid that your analysis is wrong in the sense that you assume that any cross-tabulation produce a contingency table. For instance, when you analyze the table 1, you obtain φ² = χ²/N = 213.46/12891 = 0.0166), that is N = 12891 but the sample size is 2036 as you mentioned in the introduction of the paper.
    You can see in a definition of this kind of tables where an individual cann’t be in two different cells. For intance, in your table 3, one person can watch comedy or news during the last month.

  1. Pingback: Correspondence analysis of genre preferences in UK film audiences | Research into film

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