Report finds British public are relaxed about sex on TV
Thursday 23 August 2012
TV viewers have become more relaxed about the amount of sex, violence and swearing on the small-screen, according to a report.
But, while attitudes have changed, a significant proportion of people are still concerned by what is shown, with 19% of adults, questioned in 2011, offended by something that they had watched in the past 12 months.
Ofcom's annual survey found that 25% of adults are unhappy with the amount of sex on the small-screen, down from 36% in 2005.
More than a third (36%) say that there is too much violence, down from 56%, and 37% are concerned about the amount of foul language, a drop from 55% in 2005.
The figures also show a fall in the level of concern since 2010, when 30% said that there was too much sex and 43% were concerned by violence and language.
Regulator Ofcom's report also found that 77% of UK adults, up from 64%, believe that the 9pm TV watershed, designed to protect younger audiences, is set at the right time.
Only 12% think that the watershed is too early.
Around half (55%) of the adults questioned said that the standard of TV programmes has remained consistent over the previous 12 months.
The proportion saying that standards have declined is at 31%, down from 40% in 2005, but only 12% said that there has been improvement in the last 12 months.
Older people are more likely to feel that standards have declined (46% among those aged 65 and over), while the youngest (16-34) were more likely to feel that they had improved (18%).
When describing why standards had got worse, most cited more repeats (71%) and lack of variety (43%).
Overall, three quarters (74%) felt the current levels of TV regulation were "about right" but Ofcom said that the take-up of new technology which changed viewing habits would raise new questions.
The report also found that TV is the main source of UK and international news for 76% of adults.
Newspapers are the biggest source for 8% of adults, with 7% citing the internet and 5% radio.
For local news, 53% say that TV is their main source, with 15% selecting newspapers, 10% radio and 6% the internet.
Over half (59%) of adults, down from 66% in 2010, feel that TV is an "impartial" news source.
Radio was seen as the second most impartial at 52%, down from 57% in 2010.
Around a quarter of adults (24%) say that newspapers are impartial, a similar proportion to 2010.
The research found that 34% of adults agree that broadcasters should be able to show programmes that scrutinise the lives of celebrities and politicians without consent.
When it comes to stories about the general public in the media, 19% say that consent is not needed but 63% disagree.
Almost half (48%) of UK adults say that newspapers are the most intrusive media into the lives of people in the public eye, followed by TV (24%) and magazines (21%).
Four in 10 (41%) thought that the internet was regulated but 51% of parents said that there was too little regulation of online content.
Research was conducted for Ofcom by the research agency BDRC Continental with a sample of 1,700 adults.
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