Amid the increase of TV reruns since spring 2020 due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, we conducted an attitudes survey of television viewers (web questionnaire survey and focus group). This is the first part of a two–part series that reports the findings from the survey. The first chapter overviews how reruns have increased since April 2020, when the government announced the state of emergency in relation to COVID–19. As of late–May, even the evening primetime slot had many reruns or programs reusing past video materials. The following trends were observed from the attitudes survey.
– Viewers in general favorably accept reruns, and many do not mind having them even during weekday prime time.
– Respondents tend not to mind whether the program is the first broadcast or rebroadcast if they feel like watching it. They also are less than picky about whether it is reruns or not when checking the program guide and do not attach much importance to the timing of broadcast, or whether it is in or out of season.
– Viewers' unsatisfaction with recent broadcast content is among the factors reflected in their needs for reruns.
– Those who actively watch television have a strong tendency to require various added values to reruns.
– There are tendencies that young people acquire information on reruns from the internet while the elderly do so from newspapers.
– In general, viewers are tolerant about reruns featuring TV personalities who have committed misconducts.
The rest of the findings will be presented in the second part of the series.
The global COVID–19 death toll exceeded 1.8 million in 2020. With no vaccine or known treatments at the onset of the outbreak, infection prevention based on scientific data and knowledge was key to controlling the spread of the virus. But governments struggled to implement effective measures, even in developed countries, rich both in means of communication and healthcare. How did media around the world cover the outbreak? What measures did they take to ensure they could continue reporting? What challenges did they meet? In the February and March issues, this two–part series will look at how overseas media responded to the outbreak and what impact this crisis had on them.
European and American media have been striving to promote diversity to respect the human rights of diverse members of society regardless of gender and race and to reflect their voices in news and other programs. Following the widespread of Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement that started in the United States calling for respecting the human rights of African–Americans, media companies are now requested to take further strategies. With social media becoming more influential, broadcasters feel the urgency more acutely that media outlets that cannot represent diverse standpoints may lose their raison d'etre. Japan is no stranger to this issue. This paper considers how Japanese media should promote diversity for the future.
The author explores preceding diversity strategies of major public service broadcasters of the world. The BBC of the United Kingdom set numerical targets to be achieved by 2020 to secure the diversity both on and off air, such that 50% of on–air roles must be occupied by women, and 15% by the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups. In France, the Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel (CSA), a media regulatory authority, conducts detailed analyses and assessment of TV news and programs produced by broadcasters to check whether the representation of women and non–white people on TV are in proportion to the total population, what roles they play, and how they are featured. CSA also issues a recommendation for improvement when necessary. In the case of CBC/Radio–Canada, Canada's public service broadcaster, women account for around 50% of the entire workforce, which is a result of the company's continued efforts dating back to the 1970s when female employees started a thorough investigation into the recruitment, the treatment, and the promotion of female workers, and their evidence–based commitments have made changes to the organization and improved the situation.
The public opinion research division of NHK Broadcasting Culture Institute is set to start a new survey “Nationwide Public Opinion Survey on Attitudes Towards Media,” which will replace “The Japanese and Television”–a public opinion survey series the Institute has long been conducting.
The purpose of the new survey is to capture the media usage behavior and consciousness of the people in the current diversified media environment and to grasp the transition in chronological order.
The new survey will specifically focus on how people select “the medium they use (television, internet, etc.)” from a wide range of media options. In particular, the center of our interest is how people's perception of internet videos are different from that of television programs.
Prior to the survey, we conducted a preliminary survey to identify what types of questions and answer options would enable us to accurately understand the media usage behavior and consciousness of people of today.
For example, when respondents were asked about their usage behavior and consciousness regarding TV viewing, many respondents interpreted “watching television” as not only “viewing TV programs aired by broadcasters in real time on TV screen” but also “viewing recorded TV programs,” and some even included “viewing internet videos posted by non–professional individuals on their computers or smart phones,” which indicates that the ranges of media devices and activities the respondents think of have become wider than before.
We also asked about information helpful for deciding what content to watch. For choosing TV programs, many people cited “TV guides/listings” and “on-air promotions” of those shows.
Meanwhile, for choosing online videos, a relatively large number of people cited “information on social media and internet sites.” In addition, “notifications from sites and apps,” “playback time per video,” and "recommended videos" from video services” were also mentioned. These responses shows that some people have different criteria for choosing online videos from for choosing TV shows.
The survey team have taken into account these findings from the preliminary survey in designing questions for the “Nationwide Public Opinion Survey on Attitudes Towards Media.”