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Alcohol advertising reaching too many teens on cable TV, researchers say
Date:8/20/2009

A new study from the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, in collaboration with UCLA, has found a striking correlation between teenage viewership and the frequency of alcohol advertising on cable television. The findings show that ads for beer, spirits and "alcopop" aired much more frequently when more teens were watching.

While previous studies have shown that the average adolescent is exposed to well over 200 alcohol ads on television each year, this is the first to demonstrate an association between ad placement and teen cable TV viewership. Cable TV attracts about 95 percent of all nationally televised alcohol ads.

The study will be published in the October issue of the American Journal of Public Health and is currently available online by subscription.

"Alcohol advertisers have pledged to avoid audiences made up of more than 30 percent underage viewers such as children's programming," said David H. Jernigan, director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth and an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "However, many other shows have adolescent appeal. This research suggests that ads are aimed at groups that include a disproportionate number of teens and that the alcohol industry's voluntary self-monitoring is not working to reduce adolescent exposure to ads."

Using advertising industry data from Nielsen Media Research, researchers examined all 600,000 national cable alcohol ads shown from 2001 through 2006 to audiences with less than 30 percent of viewers between the ages of 12 and 20. Among the findings:

  • Audiences with a higher percentage of youth between the ages of 12 and 20 were exposed to a higher frequency of alcohol ads, even after accounting for other factors that might explain ad placement decisions.
  • Each 1-percentage-point increase in adolescent viewership was associated with a 7-percent increase in beer ads, a 15-percent increase
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Contact: Amy Albin
aalbin@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-8672
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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