The Latest

Between 2001 and 2013 there has been a small decline in the average television audience aged 0-14 years. Children on average watched just under two hours of TV a day, down half an hour since 2001. However the pattern of viewing hasn’t changed with peaks between 7am and 9am in the morning and a higher peak in the evening between 7pm and 8pm. In fact, the average audience between 4:30pm and 9:30pm is higher than the highest morning audience. The latest report from The Australian Communications and Media Authority shows that the most popular shows with under 14’s are The Block, The X Factor, The Voice and My Kitchen Rules. Some movies achieved high audiences as well, with Toy Story 3, Despicable Me and Hop attracting an average audience of over 250,000 children. Channel 7 had 15 of the top 30 programs watched, followed by Nine with 8, ABC2 with 5 and one each for GO! and Ten.

The potential audience for the top 10 C and P programs has dropped to 0.2-1.0%. It important to have provisions in place to protect children from junk food advertising when there are these higher numbers watching TV up until 9:30 at night.

Children’s television viewing, Research overview March 2015, available from ACMA website

Busted

The latest McDonald’s app is a game where players tilt the screen as a sky diver avoids obstacles and collect coins. A complaint to the Advertising Standards Board outlined that the game was simple and, with cartoon characters and appealing language such as “an amazing cool dude”, was directed to children.

In response, McDonald’s said that the game was not directed to children. Some of the reasons they gave were that it required a degree of dexterity, the music was reminiscent of “old school” Nintendo games, the characters had realistic proportions thereby avoiding the typical children’s characters like “big heads with little bodies or eyes that pop out” and it referred to popular culture icons such as “The Neil” an astronaut and “The Fonz” a cool guy in a leather jacket.

McDonald’s is a signatory to the Responsible Children’s Advertising Initiative that specifies to be classified as advertising to children the ad must be directed “primarily” to children. The Board ruled that although the game was simple and attractive to children it could not be considered to be directed primarily to children and so dismissed the complaint.

Case report 0588/14