Attitude Of Television Audience Towards Commercial Interruption Of Television Programmes
The attitude of television audience toward commercial interruption in television programmes is a research work carried out through scientific and empirical method in attempt to find out what television commercial interruption is all about and how it affects the audience and suggestion on what to do in order to better the performance of the media houses towards the television commercial interruptions.
It goes a long way to carry out a research on this topic by drawing up questionnaire and interviewing the subjects in their environments. Also made use of library and oral interviews. And our finding shows that uninterrupted television programmes are preferred by the television audience and that the television audience will prefer their unfavourite programmes interrupted. We also found out that commercial that tends to satisfy their needs are recalled faster than commercial that does not satisfy their needs.
Conclusively, the main objective of this study is to asses the attitude of television audience in Enugu towards commercial interruption of television programmes.
This study being an attitude survey seeks to find out the relationship between media content (advertisements) and the society. Therefore, it focused on consumer behaviour, which gives insight into consumer attitude beliefs, perception and culture.
1.1 Background of the Study
Television industry in Nigeria is still in infant stage comparatively to its counterparts in other parts of the developed world. However, it has metamorphosed remarkably within this short period of its history. There have been some achievement and new dimension in its scope of operation for the past two decodes.
At its inception, television in the country was basically used for information, entertainment and educational purposes. It is different of its ability to combine sound and picture. As a result of these qualities. It is possible for it to attract a large number of viewing audience. The number of television receivers reaching a formidable over 30 million people throughout Nigeria, is proof of the immeasurable impact this invention has had on the lines of millions and on the spread of information.
The value of television, as a medium of mass communication is fast assuming highly important position throughout the world. According to Olusda (1976) “All over Nigeria, today there are over one million people watching television) (p 21)
Television has added another feather to its wing, which is that of persuasion. This singular act by television has made it possible for television to dazzle other media of communication. It now serves as an organ through which governments and advertisers sell their goods and services. It ahs brought the art of product awareness to millions of house holds. It has the selling power for most types of goods and services – detergents, cigarettes, fridge, beer and furniture. Their impact on the country is attributable to network television advertising.
Still talking about what television offers, one cannot but remember educational and entertainment programmes for the audience like cultural dances, drama and comedy programmes. Some of the programmes such as family circle, guilt, Jagwa, Mr. B and Tales by moonlight have been known to force people to go home from wherever they are, so as not to miss the next episode.
While viewers are watching their favouratie programmes, it is a common experiences that television houses often dot in commercials which break the continuity of these programmes to the annoyance of viewers whom these programmes are their favourites. The advertisers often want their commercials to be aired at prime time, while these viewers want their favourite programmes to be uninterrupted by commercials thereby reating conflicts between the interest of advertisers and interest of viewers.
It ahs been estimated that well over 80% of the programmes on Nigeria, televisions are interrupted as a result of commercials, yet Nigeria television houses do not seem to see anything unusual about this situation. On N.T.A. station, there are so many programmes for the week and of the seventeen programmes selected for promotion, none is aired without commercial interruption. According to Opubor and Ore (1979)2 The commercials interruptions of most of the programmes are of little relevance to the social realities of the average Nigeria” 3 (p. 122)2
Consequently, television houses often just slot in these commercials even at prime time without considering the interests and feelings of viewers. The viewers are now forced to perceive and consume these commercial when watching their favourite programs, thereby subjecting them to the status of captive audience.
According to Nwuneli (1976) Many of the products in Nigeria television are raw. They display things which portray people as naughty, monsters and didactic under stones which are underplayed and viewers lose sight of them (P. 122)3. Some researchers have come up with evidence to show that commercial interruption could induce aggressive tendencies in people. According to Greene (1965) a former Director General of the British corporation television is being misused and that broadcasters are betraying their responsibilities (p. 124)4
There is no gain staying the fact that television stations need the money realized from these commercial to remain in business. The corporation has to under take commercial broadcasting in order to make money to supplement the subtrahend, sponsors need the television station as a medium of communicating information about their goods and services to the ultimate consumers with the sole aim at arousing their interests for the goods. But as new television stations are established and more stations introduce the modern broadcasting, the need to interrupt programmes at the detriment of the viewers will be further aggravated. Unless something is done now, this will be another ugly incident and further alienation of television audience.
The points mentioned above have acted as stimuli for this research which is to find out the attitude of television audience towards commercial interruption in television programmes. Attitude is here defined as ways of thinking or feeling towards something, in this case towards commercial interruption in television programmes. This attitude survey is very crucial because it embraces a lot of things. For instance, it transcends effects of commercial interruptions on television audience because it is only after a subject has observed the effect of a phenomenon that the subject can form a reasonable attitude towards that phenomenon.
According to Parker (1974) “The sooner each new technology is studied, the greater the chance of bringing to use research results to influence policy in a meaningful way (p 123). We can deduce from these that it is necessary to examine audience attitude towards commercial interruption by Nigerian televisions at this embryonic state of televisions industry when the institutional and economic structures of broadcasting are still being formulated.
Finally, this study will also find out whether television audience will prefer uninterrupted programmes to interrupted programmes whether these commercial programs increase or decrease the viewers interests. In short, it will come up with suggestion on how Nigeria television stations can best serve their audience.
1.2 Statement of Research Problem
Television by virtue of sound, vision and movement offers a high degree of creative flexibility. An increasing number of people have colour television sets and this allows for greater realism of presentation in commercials. What is more television has achieved a very high degree of penetration of the population and many people watch television programmes for several hours each day. However, these programmes are intermittently interrupted to make way for the insertion of commercial message.
It ahs been estimated that well over 80% of the programmers on Nigerian television are interrupted as a result of commercial insertions, yet Nigeria television houses to not seem to see anything wrong or unusual about this situation. The situation has come to a stage where it will be logically assumed that the gullibility of the television audience is now taken for granted by television houses and also that many ahs now become their primary consideration. Thus, this study intends to examine this attitude of television audience in Enugu towards commercial interruption of television programmes. By and large attitude is a formidable factor in any human communication. It is defined as a psychological predisposition that allows a person to behave in a certain way towards objects, people or actions, hence, the objects in this case will be commercials interruption of television programs.
Given the situation, what the television audience have to say about the commercial interruption of television programmes? How to they feel or react when the programmes they are watching on their television sets are interrupted midway by commercial message? Will uninterrupted television programmes appeal more to regular viewers than to non-regular viewers? Is it true that television audience will like to watch their favourite programmes uninterrupted by commercial message than when watching their unfavourite programmes? Will television viewer pay mere attention to commercial messages that tend to satisfy their needs than to commercial messages that does not satisfy their needs? Finally, would television audience recall faster commercial messages that tend to satisfy their needs than those that to not tend to satisfy their needs.
This background will now form the bedrock of the statement of research problems which is self explanatory on “the attitude of television audience in Enugu towards commercial interruption of television programmes.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
Basically, the objective of this study is to examine the attitudes of television audience in Enugu towards commercials interruptions of television programmes. To extent to which such variables like age, sex, e.t.c , will contribute in shaping this attitude. To find out the relationship between media contents and the society.
However, in exploring further the objectives of this study, questionnaire was designed to include certain questions that will throw more light into the imbroglio generated by incessant commercial interruption of television programmes. From the answers to these questions as the research progresses, the objectives of the study will clearly manifest and be clearly understood.
1.4 Research Questions
- Would uninterrupted television programmes appeal more to television audience than interrupted ones?
- How do television audiences react to commercial interruption of television programmes?
- How do viewers react when their favourite programs are interrupted mid-way commercial messages?
- Do the television audiences recall commercial messages after the programmes?
- Would television audiences recall faster that commercials that tend to satisfy their needs than those that do not?
1.5 Significance of the Study
Much has been said about the qualities of television as an effective communication medium in disseminating commercial messages to a large audience scattered across the country. However, the feedings of the television audience towards these commercials especially when the programmes are interrupted to make way for them cannot be overlooked. Therefore, this study is significant in the sense that it examines the attitude of television audience in Enugu towards commercial interruption of television programmes.
The study will also be valuable to the federal and state governments, which still have exclusive right over the ownership of broadcasting media in Nigeria. This monopoly some people argued has given impetus to the television houses in the country to conduct their affairs in the manner they like, regardless of public opinion. Hence, the result that will be obtained from this study will perhaps guide the federal and state governments in formulating future policies regarding television broadcasting generally in Nigeria, with a view to improving their services and in line with audience expectations.
Furthermore, the advertiser will find the study invaluable because a great deal of advertising messages are wasted. Individual are selective about information they receive it ahs been found that commercial message which contradicts or is otherwise inconsistent with individuals personal attitude is likely to be ignored. Alternatively, an individual may distort the message and draw a meaning quite different form what ahs been intended by interpreting the message in accordance with his own predisposition. This being the case, the broad goal of adverting which is to communicate information about any product, services and ideals and to facilitates the sales of any of them by arousing demand will not be achieved.
Finally, although the study will be carried out on 200 residents of Enugu, nonetheless, the result that will be obtained will however be generalize to the whole of Enugu state because of some similarities in the cultural and psychological make up to the people of this state.
1.6 Scope of the Study
No research carried out in any field of human endeavour could be said to be perfect or without limitations. Therefore, we cannot delude ourselves that this study will take into account all that is required in the field. The mere fact that this researchers are venturing into the field for the first time is a limitation of its own, no matter the carefulness in the pains that will be taken in conducting the research, there must be some errors.
Another limitation of the study stems from the fact that data for the study were collected from television audience in Enugu only, due to finance, time and energy constraints and also due to the proximity of the city to the researchers. Otherwise, the study would have been extended to other states of the federation.
Another limitation is that the study is being carried out in partial fulfillment of the requirement of Data Analysis in Communication Research; this makes the researchers to become victims of divided loyalties. One to the research and the other to the course requirement. Besides, the time duration set for this is usually too short.
Finally, considering the sample population of 160 respondents from Enugu which will be used for the study, it will be very inappropriate and presumptuous to generalize the result obtained to the whole federation. This is because the research is on attitude and considering the fact that Nigeria is a plural society, it will therefore be misleading to think that people all over the federation will react in the same manner to commercial interruption to television programmes.
1.7 Definition of Terms.
Conceptually attitude means a way of feeling, thinking or behaving, it is also a psychological predisposition that allows a person to behave in a certain way towards objects, people or action “Onyekwere E.E. (1988). Unpublished lecture note. Operationally, attitude refers to television viewer’s reactions, feelings, thinking and behaviours when they see commercials or advertisements interrupting any television programmes they are watching. Are they happy, irritated or are they indifferent to such commercials.
Conceptually, audience means a gathering of persons for the purpose of hearing a speaker or a singer. It also means person’s within hearing whether they are together or not, as in broadcast. Operationally, television programmes. It includes men and women, young and old, adults and children.
Conceptually, commercial means pertaining to commerce. Operationally, it refers to advertisements inserted in television programmes.
Literally, this means a break in the continuity of speech, traffic or a program operationally, it refers to a break in any television programmes already started to slot in any advertisement. Therefore, commercial interruption as it applies to our study refers to any break in television programmes already start3ed to slot in any advertisement.
Programme literally, means a lot of items or events for context or to be broadcast for radio or television. Operationally programmes refer to a schedule of events to be broadcast by television houses. These television houses do have many viewers each day. They could be news, advertisement or entertainment programmes like the Guilt, Jagwa, Mr. B, family circle, Tales by moonlight. We shall also seize this opportunity to operationally the variables in our hypothesis for a clearer understanding of our work.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
This project was embarked on to measure the attitude of television audience towards commercial interruption of television programmes. To start with, the researchers got familiar with the history of television, its audience and its programmes, using N.T.A as a case study. Thereafter, a look was taken into advertisements, the estimated measure of advertisements in a programme that subjects its audience to a constant interruption of the program, which evokes different emotions in individuals.
The research sets out to examine attitudes of television audience to these interruptions, using a number of Enugu populace as its population of study. The research aims to find out the relationship between media contents and the society. Questionnaires were designed to include certain questions that will throw more light into the intricate conception generated by incessant commercial interruption of television programmes. From the answers to these questions as the research progresses, the objectives of the study was clearly manifested and clearly understood. The significance of this study is to make communication effective without a negative feedback. It is also meant for advertisers to save a great deal of messages for the right audience at the right time.
The observational learning, aggressive cues and individual differences theories were used to discuss extensively the extent of commercial interruptions on television audiences. In extracting the representation sample for the study, the purposive sampling method was used. The quantitative survey methodology was also used.
The aim of this chapter is to succinctly provide essential findings derived from the research conducted. After a thorough research on the attitude of television audience towards commercial interruption of television programs, the research provided answers to the research questions. The findings in the analyzed questionnaires answered by the respondents show that:
- Majority of the respondents (89%) agreed that uninterrupted television programmes appeal more to them than interrupted ones while 8% of the respondents disagreed and 3% couldn’t decide.
- 43.4% of the respondents according to their indication engage in some other activity whenever the programme they are watching is interrupted by television commercials while 37.3% of them immediately change the channels whenever their programme is interrupted and 19.3% of the remaining respondents indicated that they are always eager to learn from the commercials.
- 32.7% of the respondents indicated that they sometimes lose interest when their favourite programs are interrupted mid-way with commercials, 31.3% indicated that they rarely lose interest while 36% which are the majority indicated that they never lose interest with commercials when it comes to their favourite programme.
- Majority of the respondents’ recall the television messages after the programme because the percentage of those that indicated Yes, 58.7% are more than those that indicated No, 41.3%.
This study has shown that between a negative and positive attitude of television audience towards commercial interruption of television programmes, an equilibrium has been reached. Due to individual differences, uninterrupted programmes tend to appeal more to most of the audience than interrupted ones. Though, the purpose of the commercial has been achieved because majority of the respondents’ recall the television messages after the programme, no matter the interruptions. This justifies the researchers use of Individual differences theory, observational learning theory and aggressive cues theory as the theoretical framework for this research.
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