Impact of Cartoons on Children

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WHAT CHILDREN WATCH
AN ANALYSIS OF CHILDREN’S PROGRAMMING PROVISION
BETWEEN 1997-2001, AND CHILDREN’S VIEWS

Kam Atwal, Andrea Millwood-Hargrave and Jane Sancho
with Leila Agyeman and Nicki Karet

June 2003

WHAT CHILDREN WATCH
AN ANALYSIS OF CHILDREN’S PROGRAMMING PROVISION
BETWEEN 1997-2001, AND CHILDREN’S VIEWS

Kam Atwal, Andrea Millwood-Hargrave and Jane Sancho
with Leila Agyeman and Nicki Karet

Broadcasting Standards Commission
Independent Television Commission
June 2003

Contents
Executive summary
Introduction
Section I:
1 Quantitative Analysis of Children’s Programming
Provision: 1996-2001
2 Changing Landscape
3 Time Measures
4 Daypart Analysis
5 Diversity in Programme Provision
6 Genre Analysis
7 Genre Analysis by Channel
8 Children’s Viewing Habits
9 New Media
10 Changes since the 1997 Study

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65

Section II:
Background
11 The Role of Television
12 When, Where and How are Children Watching?
13 Children’s Understanding of Television
14 Terrestrial versus Multichannel
15 Conclusions

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Appendix
Appendix
Appendix
Appendix

I: Methodology
II: Sample
III: Broadcasting Standards Commission
IV: Independent Television Commission

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5

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Executive Summary
1. Households with children living in them contain a wider range of in-home entertainment than childfree households and are more likely to be ‘early adopters’ of such equipment.
2. Children in multichannel homes watch significantly more television per day than their terrestrial only counterparts (an average of 35 minutes more per day at 2 hours and 27 minutes). However, the amount of time they spend specifically viewing ‘children’s programmes’ is comparable with those living in analogue terrestrial-only homes [Source: BARB].

3. There has been a dramatic rise in the amount of children’s programming on analogue terrestrial and other television services over the past five years. 4. The increase has come about principally from the launch of the new analogue terrestrial service Five (formerly operating as Channel 5), as well as the introduction of dedicated satellite and cable-delivered channels. (The detailed analyses do not include the free-toair dedicated children’s channels, CBBC and CBeebies, launched after the analysis period in February 2002, increasing provision still further.)

5. Children are able now to tune in to children’s programmes on the dedicated channels at any time of day. The replay channels which offer rolling schedules, available in multichannel homes, mean that children in these homes need not worry about missing their favourite programmes, as they will be repeated.

6. Despite this growth in provision, the range being offered to children, as a proportion of the time devoted to children’s programming, is variable on different services. In this context, analogue terrestrial channels offer the most diverse line-up with regard to the balance of different types of programming e.g. factual, drama, light entertainment, animation and pre-school, broadcast on a single channel.

7. This being said, the mainstay of the analogue terrestrial channels is animation, as it is for the dedicated children’s channels. The analyses do not distinguish between types of animation and, not surprisingly, this is the genre which most children are watching within children’s programming. In multichannel homes, more than half the time spent viewing children’s programmes is devoted to this genre.

8. The result of this dramatic increase in animation is a move away, by children in multichannel homes in particular, from the drama and factual genres in children’s programming.
9. The provision of drama on the analogue terrestrial channels is more stable than some of the other genres, with little significant change across the period sampled. On the dedicated channels, however, there was a steep decline in drama in 2001.

What Children Watch...
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