Which children for television

Date of publication: June 15, 1992

Author: Gianni Pilo

Abstract:

Today's television programmes are product -and not market- orientated. In creating programmes "what kind of product?" is a question more often asked than "what kind of children?". Market-orientation is a critical factor in success, especially when related to the speed of change in television. Nobody can be sure that today's children want to watch yesterday's programmes. Their tastes evolve rapidly and continuously: schedulers must take this into account. Television which is removed from reality, which loses sight of viewers' tastes and daily life-styles, or which is too highfy defined in character for children, is television which risks being left behind. The life-cycles of television products are becoming shorter and shorter. The problem, then, is not so much deciding what kind of television is "right" for children, according to the "adult", "grown-up", pedagogical/sociological approach, so much as understanding what kind of children watch television today and how. The starting point in making children's programmes must be the behaviour of children and their parents. The objective of identifying the segmentation of the public on the basis of consumer behaviour leads to making non-segmented television. The television market is less and less segmented because everybody watches everything: adult and children's viewing patterns are increasingly similar. Children are watching more and more programmes for adults and together with adults, seeing television across the whole range of time-slots (the afternoon is no longer the central viewing time). At the same time, adults are increasingly disposed to watch children's programmes, together with children.

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