Avoiding unsavoury television

Barrie Gunter argues that TV ratings systems may be based on an incomplete understanding of audience psychology.
The rapid growth of television channels following the launch of cable, satellite and digital transmission systems has created a fresh challenge for viewers. How, given a much expanded programme menu, are they to find the programmes they most want to watch and avoid the ones they don’t. For parents, there is also a growing concern that their children can more readily gain access to violent and sexual material that is unsuitable for them. In a political climate that emphasises consumer empowerment over centralised control and censorship, one solution to this problem is to provide viewers with better information about programmes in advance. In particular, such information should enable parents to judge whether a programme will be suitable for their children.

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