Thursday, May 13, 2010

Why Mothers are not fully engaged by TV shows - a media concern

A TV media company recently conducted an interesting research with over 400 mothers who have children under the age of 12 living in their homes.

They found that:
  • 75% of respondents watch certain TV shows with their children.
  • 50% of respondents indicated that they’re likely to be doing other things while watching television with their children. (This could mean that although they are watching the program, they aren’t really engaging in it.)
  • Women with very small children indicated that it was “impossible for anyone to watch anything on the TV when the kids are up.”
  • Women with older children experienced phases of “family TV viewing” where they watched shows targeted to their kids’ age group between ages 4-7. (Shows selected by the children or chosen to entertain the children)
  • Interestingly, as the kids get older, women become more engaged in the programming as they come to share favourite shows with their kids, such as “American Idol” and “Survivor.”
  • The respondents indicated that ultimately they can only truly engage in what’s on the television when their children aren’t present. (This was a consistent response among all respondents regardless of the age of the children.)
  • 81% of our survey respondents stated that they have “their shows” that they watch during what they deem to be their “me time.” This offers them an “escape” from the daily pressures of work and family.
  • Women are also prone to “time-shifting” their preferred programming by recording their favourite shows or by visiting On Demand network websites, to re-watch shows or catch episodes they’ve missed.
What does this mean?

According to the research, if mothers are watching TV with their children they are not probably not engaging with the programs that their children are enjoying.

I think its easy to conclude that if they aren’t engaging with the programs, they are definitely not engaging with the commercials, which is more of a concern for the media ad sales people than the mothers.

My greatest concern in all this is that mothers, fathers and family members are not engaging with each other or their children, even if they appear to be sharing the experience of coming together, to form an 'audience' to watch a specific TV show.

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