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ABSTRACT The study is about the attitude of television viewers towards commercial breaks within programme ( a case study of borno state female civil servants). The study takes a look at how television viewers in maiduguri perceive commercial breaks, whether they like it or not. Also the researcher also look at the amount of time that people spend watching television programmes, as well as the factors that are responsible for inserting commercial breaks within programmes.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Advertising in Nigeria and Maiduguri in particular has to be done with a lot of care, due to the heterogeneous nature of the country.Differences in religion, culture, and ethnicity have made advertisers to carefully choose their advertisement content. Maiduguri also has its own complexities ranging from religion, different ethnic groups, settlers as well as foreigners live in the city, because Borno State borders three different countries. This differences must be put into consideration when studying their attitude towards the kind of advertisement that can appeal to them and the way they feel when commercial breaks is been broadcast.
The city lacks sufficient factories and industries as well as advertising agencies, thus,there advertisements standard and quality cannot be compared to the ones produced by advertising agencies because they are done locally in the television station’s marketing department or staff of the organization who are not specialist in producing advertisement. Advertisement made or produced from other bigger cities or countries by advance advertising agencies appear to be more appealing.
Advertising agencies render the services of advertisement production and placement, a service which is not common in Maiduguri. Advertising agencies usually take their time to produce advertisement to meet the taste of their clients. The marketing departments of the television stations in the state create jingles and less complex advisement for their clientele.The major factor that most advertisers in the state usually bear in mind is the culture and religion of the people as they seek to advertise product that are acceptable to the people. The country’s regulatory agencies with respect to advertising are also expected to review the content of every advertisement copy via the standard hitherto set.
It is important to note that a large number of the population in the state have direct access to The Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and Borno Radio Television (BRTV) since no subscription is required for access to be granted to viewers.In view of this, the people get information about products and services via advertisements packaged by marketing departments of the aforementioned stations.
Furthermore, the services of Satellite Cables that contain hundreds of channels are not easily accessible to the generality of the people owing to the access fees chargeable on their services. These channels have better advertisements that convey more messages to the viewers, but it is a luxury due to the factors explained earlier.The researcher will focus on the NTA and BRTV because they are the most locally watched television stations.
Commercial breaks are introduced (within programmes) to promote products, services and ideas to members of the public which ordinarily would have been uninteresting for people to watch. The advertisement are placed when programmes that are interesting to the people are being broadcast. Marketing departments make the programme the major center of attraction whilethe commercial breaks comein-between for conveyance of the intended message.It is important to note that commercial breaks are not expected to be time consuming. However, the number of commercia lbreaks varies depending on how interesting a programme is perceived to be or the estimated number of viewers.
The researcher will focus on NTA and BRTV because they are the most commonly viewed stations in and around the metropolis. Programmes on these stations are beamed between 30 — 60minutes and commercial breaks usually come within. The number of breaks varies from program to program. It is also important to note however, that the NTA and BRTV are government owned television stations.
According to Moerdyk, (2011)research in advanced countries of theworld is showing that fewer TV viewers are watching traditional commercial break, and that more are using Video on demand technology to record programmes to watch later and skip all the commercials.This development may not be desirable for television advertisers.We cannot doubt the fact that there is a massive disconnect between the people who create TV advertisements, and the reality of veiwers that simply do not have the time anymore to work out what advertisersare trying to get across, let alone wait around until the end to see what brand they are trying to promote. If this practice continues unabated, it will only be so because there is a lot of money in producing epic 30 seconds TV commercials. But that does not mean they are dead. Advertisers simply need to put more effort tocome up with an answer that is both measurable and efficient.
TV advertising avoidance behavior represents a serious problem for advertisers. In October 2008, Tom Rogers the founder of CNBC in 1989 and currently is the CEO and president of TiVo warned the attendees of the Association of National Advertisers Conference that: “In the next two to three years the television industry is going to face an advertising crisis more severe than our current financial crisis. You have sufficient warning about television commercial avoidance and the growing epidemic of fast forwarding thru ads and if marketers do not quickly come to terms with the solutions to commercial avoidance, most viewers will be fast forwarding the majority of television ads” (as cited in El-Adly 2010).
Commercial breaks as seen in some television programmes, are usually different from the programme itself, the break comes at different points in the original programmes been broadcast.So therefore, it is very important to find out the attitude that audience have toward such phenomenon since their reactions seem quite interesting whenever there is a commercial break. Advertiser and sponsors of television programmes have to know the actions and reactions of viewers, this will assist them in planning their day to day bulletins or programme schedule in a way that the viewers will be well pleased.
Viewers of television programmes have varying opinions towards commercials breaks. Soong (2000) mentioned some of the considerations
1. Given that people watch television for a significant number of hours per day, the commercials affords people time to go to the bathroom or make a snack for themselves.
Television viewers cannot be forced to watch advertisements, they in some cases change to other channel simply because they don’t like a commercials break that is running. Advertisers need to understand the reason for such behavior in order to find a lasting solution to it, since a lot of money is being spent to advertise on television.
The NTA and BRTV commercials come in many forms, such as
A “Google” (an internet base organisation) sponsored study in (2009) on audience reactions to advertisement on television, shows that audience level drops immediately at the start of the commercial break but then starts to grow again. They grow about halfway through the break, presumably as some of these viewers return in anticipation of the programme resuming. Once the programme resumes the audience builds back up to roughly its original size, over the course of about two minutes. Hebbar (2009).
Additionally, the study also revealed that surfing activity during the same time period increase.I think what this study suggests is that viewers do not really like or enjoy commercial breaks all the time. Commercial breaks are mostly monotonous, due to the way they are repeated over and over. That may be a probable cause of the phenomenon. Television sponsors and advertisers engage in in-depth study on the kind of advertisement that will win the interest and attention of the audience, so that the money they are spending will not be a waste.
Therefore, audience display like or dislike, negative or positive attitude towards television commercials. In our own part of the world or in Maiduguri television viewers consist a good percentage of the advertisers’ targeted audience, and this study intend to understand the views and opinion of the viewers.Since television audience in Maiduguri are people who are seeking for programmes that can relax, inform, and educate them among other reasons, therefore, they have the right to choose what to watch and not to watch.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Advertisement are made to be watched by a particular target audience for the purpose of passing important information to them.However, if the audience see advertisement as a disturbance or distraction it becomes a problem since a lot of money is being spent to buy air time.
This study seeks to understand the attitude of Television viewers toward commercials breaks, since they cannot be forced to watch the commercial break as the message is in a non- personal presentation form. On the other hand,members of the audience may think it is rude as it put them into suspense.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The objective of this study are:
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The scope of this study is limited to the attitude of television viewers of local channels i.e the NTA and BRTV, towards commercial breaks within programmes. The researcher will focus on Borno state female civil servant within the ministries in Maiduguri who watch television programmes.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
The study will be useful to students of Mass Communication and
Media Practitioners. The public will gain from the study, as people’s opinion will be used to shape the event of things happening in the advertising industry.
This study will also prevent sponsors of advertisements of the television medium from wasting funds and not achieving their aims and objectives. The findings of this research will also add to the body of literature in the area of advertisement placement and commercial breaks.
Abone, (2007), Nigeria: 47 Years of Growth in Advertising Industry. Retrieved From www.nigerbrands.blogspot.com.on 26-03-06-2011.
Balasubramanian, Siva K. (1994). “Beyond Advertising and
Publicity: Hybrid Messages and Public Policy Issues”, Journal of Advertising 23(4), 29-46.
El-Adly, I. M. (2010).“The Impact of Advertising Attitudes on the Intensity of TV Ads Avoiding Behavior”; Abu Dhabi University Press, Abu Dhabi (UAE).
Guevitch Leon, (2010). The Cinemas of Interactions: Cinematics and the “Game Effect in the Age of Digital. Attractions, Senses of Cinema Journal, on line journal AFI/RMIT, Melbourne, Issue 57.
Hebbar, (2009),Google Shares How Audience React to Ad Breaks on TV. Retrieved from www.labnol.org on 26-06-2011.
Moerdyk, (20011) 30 sec. TV Commercial is Dead, May be Not. Retrieved from www.bizcommunity.com/article on 26- 06-2011.
Soong, (2000), Is Television Advertising Annoying? Retrieved from www.zonalatina. corn/ zidata/ or. htm on 26-06- 2011.
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