New Ofcom report on audience's attitudes towards sex and violence on TV (UK)

posted on 22 November, 2023   (public)

The audience stresses the positive role of television in depicting violence

UK's communications  regulator Ofcom  looked at the audience's perception of sex and violence on linear TV and on-demand services in a new report published on 31 October 2023.

While respondents feel that the level of sex and violence on TV has increased and intensified, with more graphic and realistic portrayal, people tend to underline the positive role played by TV in countering the potential negative impact of such content.

Main findings:

The positive role of TV:

- Viewers see TV programmes as "less likely to include gender stereotyping, objectification of women or uncritical depictions of exploitative relationships" than before.
- Programmes on linear TV tend to emphasise consent in sexual relationships and on female sexual empowerment and to provide positive role models for women.
- Body positive and inclusive attitudes are more reflected.
- TV helps raise awareness about medical issues and encourage people to seek medical attention.

The protection of children, the main concern for people

- Viewers rely on warnings and the watershed.
- On-demand services - where no watershed applies but where the user's active selection is required - are expected to have more 'edgier' content.
- The audience tends to wrongly assume that all on-demand services providers are regulated under the UK Broadcasting Code. 


With this study, Ofcom intends to 

- help broadcasters better understand audience's expectations and how to protect them

- help Ofcom to take into account viewers' perspective in its decision making process and to inform future regulation. 


Source: Ofcom (UK)