| Programming Quality
An educational program for children aged 2-5, however, may well be of little interest to children aged 6-11 or children aged 12-17. By contrast, an entertainment program for children is more likely to appeal to a broader range of children. Thus the market for children's educational television may be segmented by age in ways that do not characterize children's entertainment programming or adult programming. Therefore, broadcasters will have little incentive to provide such programming because the small audiences and small resulting advertising revenues means that there will be a substantial cost to them of forgoing larger revenues from other types of programs not shown (B).
Finally, possible revenues are lost if the commercial broadcaster decides to air eduational programming, instead of, entertainment programming. “Broadcasters and cable stations alike
|are recognizing the potential money to be made from
children's television programs and their product spin-offs (toys, international
sales, licensing agreements with fast food chains),”(D). As competition increases,
the number of programs available to children has surged. Cable outlets such
as Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Network are now programming primarily for the
child audience. Quite a few commercial broadcasters are providing weekday
and weekend strips of children's programs. Even PBS has developed an island
for children with its "PTV" weekday programming designed for the child audience
The study conducted for the Annenburg Public Policy Center, found that the quality of programming varied tremendously across the different types of stations. The study found that nearly all of the children's programs that aired on public broadcasting stations are of high quality. In contrast, only about 12 percent of the children's programs aired on Fox, UPN, WB and the independent station are of high quality. About 13 percent of programs on basic cable
|stations are of high quality. The big three commercial
broadcasters fared somewhat better with nearly a third of their programs in
the high-quality category. Lastly, roughly half of programs on premium
cable channels such as the Disney Channel are high quality. Low-quality
programming dominated the offerings of Fox, UPN, WB and independents.
Approximately two thirds of their programs fell into this category.
Basic cable and commercial networks also aired a great deal of low-quality
programming, about sixty percent and forty-two percent, respectively.
These figures indicate that the majority of what is available to children
over the commercial broadcast stations tends to be of low quality-programs
that contain violent content and are devoid of educational value.
Public broadcasting stations, on the other hand, offer almost exclusively
high quality programs designed to enrich and inform the child viewer. Cable
offerings are somewhat mixed: basic cable programs are primarily of low to moderate quality,
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