ATTITUDE OF TELEVISION AUDIENCE TOWARDS COMMERCIAL INTERRUPTION OF TELEVISION PROGRAMMES
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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.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
DEFINITION OF VARIABLES
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
PRESENTATION OF RESULTS
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 resolving conflicts between the interest of advertisers and interest of viewers.
It has 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.
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 has 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.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
Basically, the objectives of this study is to examine the attitudes of television audience in Enugu towards commercials interruptions of television programmes and the extent to which such variables like age, sex, educational level, marital status, income bracket and occupation will contribute in shaping these attitude.
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. They include the following.
1. How to regular and non regular viewers react to commercial interruption of television programmes? In other words, will uninterrupted television programs appeals more to regular television viewers than non regular television viewers.
2. How to viewers react when their favourite programs are interrupted mid way y commercial messages? What actually to they do? Are they irritated, happy or indifferent to these commercials.
3. Which of the commercial messages will television audience pay more attention to? Will they pay more attention to commercial messages that satisfy their needs than to the ones that do not satisfy their needs?
4. How will the television audience recall commercial messages that satisfy their needs than those that do not tend to satisfy their needs.
From the answers to these question as the research progress, the objectives of the study will clearly manifest and clearly be understood.
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 recieve it has 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 has 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. Would uninterrupted television programmes appeal more to regular viewers than to non-regular viewers?
2. Would viewers prefer their unfavourite programmes to be interrupted by commercials than their favourite programmes.
3. Would television audience pay more attention to commercials that tend to satisfy their needs than those that do not?
4. Would television audience recall faster that commercials that tend to satisfy their needs than those that do not?
H1. Uninterrupted television programmes appeal more to regular viewers than non-regular viewers.
Ho. Uninterrupted television programmes do not appeal more to regular viewers than to non-regular viewers.
H2. Viewers would prefer their unfavourite programmes to be interrupted by commercials than their favourite programs.
H3. Television audience will pay more attention to commercials that tend to satisfy their needs than to commercials that do not tend to satisfy their needs.
Ho. Television audience will not pay more attention to commercials that tends to satisfy their needs than to commercials that do not tend to satisfy their needs.
H4. Television audience will recall faster commercials that tend to satisfy their needs than those that do not tend to satisfy their needs.
CONCEPTIONAL AND OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF VARIABLES
In every research study, it is very important that the key variables in the research topic and hypothesis formulated to test them are defined, by this definition, we give meanings to the key terms or variables in the study. The definition will not only help to explain the variables to our fellow scientists but will also make it possible for any body who reads our work to fellow and understand it. Therefore, its very necessary at this point of this work, to define the key variables in this research topic. “The attitude of television audience in Enugu towards commercial interruption of television programmes” conceptually and operationally, while the conceptual definition refers to the dictionary or literal meaning, the operational definition refers to the meaning in terms of our study, re-what it means to define it so that people will know what it means. Variable means a term or a concept stated in value in order words the value assigned to the terms we are using in this study.
DEFINITION OF TERMS VARIABLES.
ATTITUDE: 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.
AUDIENCE: 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.
COMMERCIAL: Conceptually, commercial means pertaining to commerce. Operationally, it refers to advertisements inserted in television programmes.
INTERRUPTION: 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: 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.
REGULAR: Literally, regular means doing something at the same time everyday. Operationally, regular viewers refers to anybody who watches television programmes daily or everyday.
NON-REGULAR VIEWERS: This refers to people who do not watch television programmes daily.
APPEAL: Literally, appeal means to attract, move the feeling of operationally, appeal means the attraction television programmes have for some people, this makes them to watch it daily.
FAVOURITE: Conceptually, favourite means not preferred above others. Operationally, it refers to those programmes which people or viewers do not prefer above others. It does not matter whether they watch them or not.
MORE: Conceptually, more means greater in number or degree. But operationally, more refers to greater number of people i.e. commercials that attracts greater number of people.
ENUGU: Conceptually refers to the capital of Enugu state. Operationally, it refers to television viewers in the town.
Assumption is nothing more than what the researcher had in mind before choosing the topic and embarking on the study. It is on this premise that we make the following assumptions. It is assumed that Enugu, the urban area under study has a long history of television broadcast therefore, it will a large and variegated audience of people who watch television programmes and who are also exposed to commercial message.