Hampshire Cricket History

Watch Out (?)
July 12, 2017, 5:51 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

In my professional life I was really an art teacher, but from around 1980 I always had close links with media studies, where one of the key areas was what can be called ‘Audience Studies’ – focusing on who watched/read/listened to what, when and how.

Some of that work was small-scale, case study, highly focused and some of it much broader. In the latter case the broadcasting regulator Ofcom often leads the way, and has just published a report on the TV viewing habits of young people (two groups, 4-15 & 16-24). They report that since 2010 those young people’s viewing of broadcast TV has fallen by 33%, and even in the last two years by almost 10%. Meanwhile, the over-65s (that’s me) now watch more.

One alarming tale: Blue Peter had an audience rating recently of “zero”. Imagine that; a world in which ‘no’ young people watch Blue Peter

Then imagine investing great hopes in the return, in a couple of years time, of a bit of cricket to free-to-air television. Maybe that horse has bolted?


5 Comments so far
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I too was alarmed to see the reported zero audience for Blue Peter (which hasn’t been the same since John Noakes left in my opinion) but delving a little deeper it was a weekday afternoon repeat (when kids would have been at school) that attracted this figure. The original programme was supposedly watched by 53,100 viewers.

It should also be remembered that viewing figures are based on boxes in 5,100 households which are used to estimate the number of the potential 26 million viewers watching. A very rough estimate I would suggest!

Comment by James

I didn’t know that information, so thanks James, although 53,000 is still a tiny audience for any TV programme.

I’m not so sure about that last point. Methodologically I was always a small-scale guy in my research, but I taught research methods sufficiently to know that there is an optimum number on large-scale research, leading to generalisations. The most obvious example is in political polling where, once you get beyond a few thousand in a carefully selected sample, the results do not get any clearer – at least until the actual results emerge. But the other thing that seems unsurprising from the media research I’ve read, is that young people increasingly prefer to access media through a variety of platforms, often tiny hand-held devices while on the move, sometimes laptops, tablets etc in private or with peers.

If that is correct, the question is whether they will suddenly start watching T20 matches (lasting around three hours) in such ways. Having spent my professional life with young people in those target age groups, I’m doubtful.

Comment by pompeypop

A few years ago I would have agreed that 53,000 is a tiny figure for a TV programme but I’m not so sure now. I’m increasingly surprised once you look beyond the top rated programmes how small the viewing figures are for main-stream shows which is probably why they so rarely publish this information.

I tend to agree with you regarding the likelihood of the younger age group sitting down in masses to watch T20 on terrestrial television. Ten10 must be the future!

Comment by James

You’re right about viewing figures – my point would be that if they only get say 50,000 kids watching on BBC in 2020, then that isn’t likely to impact on the number of kids being keen on cricket because it will probably be just those already converted.

It did occur to me that last night’s T20 lasted almost exactly three hours (without the preamble, match analyses etc) and that three hours is about twice as long as (say) the Lions v NZ so the answer is almost certainly T10. I’m looking forward to it already

Comment by pompeypop

Sadly attention spans by then will almost certainly be even shorter so why not save time and go straight to F5?

Comment by James

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