Measures of quality in Canadian broadcasting

Date of publication: June 15, 1992

Author: Philip Savage

Abstract:

The paper reviews the state of audience measures of quality in Canada in relation to developments in other countries. The general problems associated with qualitative measures of quality are considered in light of a specific example of family drama programming, "Road to Avonlea", broadcast on the English-language television network of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Developments in the area of measures of quality from other countries are briefly examined with special attention to viewer assessments of quality being experimented within the United Kingdom. After tracing some of the historical contexts for the development of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's audience panel and explaining its current function, specific measures of quality undertaken through the audience panel are examined. Tests were conducted to examine the extent to which audiences equate quality with enjoyment. This involved a split sample of the CBC audience panel which tested ratings generated by an "Enjoyment Index" versus a "Qualitative Index", the latter using viewers' definition of quality. Results indicate that although QI's are very similar to EFs there are important differences, especially with regard to news, sports and current affairs programming.

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