According to the study conducted for the Annenburg Public Policy Center, there are lots of shows geared toward children on both cable and commercial broadcast. The problem is that the shows are not quality shows, ones that teach a lesson or a moral. “Children can find a program designed to reach them almost any time of the day or night and almost anywhere on the dial,”(D). However, market disincentives provide for these shows to be of more entertainment value than of educational value.
With television as such a strong influence, it is clear that what is on television for children needs to be based on programming quality not just on revenues gained from advertising (C).
“Congress found, however, that there are significant market disincentives for commercial broadcasters to air children’s educational and informational programming”. A number of factors explain the marketplace constraints on providing children's educational programming. Over-the-air commercial broadcast television stations earn their revenues from the sale of advertising time. Revenues received from the sale of advertising depend on the size and the socio-demographic characteristics of the audience reached by the broadcaster's programming. Broadcasters, thus, have a reduced economic incentive to promote children's programming because children's television audiences are smaller than general audiences (A). “There are 59.5 million children in the television audience: 16.0 million children aged 2-5, 22.2 million aged 6-11, and 21.3 million children aged 12-17. Adults aged 18-49 number 122.2
|million,”(B). Because the adult audience is so
much larger than the children's audience, the potential advertising revenues
are also much larger. The potential advertising revenues
provide broadcasters with an incentive to focus on adult programming rather than children's
educational television programming.
Broadcasters have even less economic incentive to provide educational programs for children as opposed to entertainment programming. Entertainment programs appeal to a broader range of children rather than educational programs that appeal to a narrower group. Educational programming generally must be targeted at segments of the child audience.
More on Programming Quality