KERALA

`Children watch TV two hours daily'

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, MARCH. 24. Children in urban Kerala watch TV for close to two hours daily on weekdays and for more duration during weekends, says a study on TV viewing habits of children.

The study, conducted by MBA students of the School of Communication and Management Studies (SCMS), Kochi, also suggests that though advertisements do play a major role in deciding the purchase behaviour of children, they are becoming increasingly more discerning in their appreciation of advertisements and choice of products. For instance, the recent row over pesticide residues in major cola brands and their black colour have made them unappealing for the children.

The study, carried out by Raghu M.S. Laja Vijayan and Soumya Kuriakose under the guidance of noted management expert, V. Mukunda Das, covered 500 respondents in the city of Kochi comprising 250 children between the ages 5 to 15 from various public and private schools and 250 parents from various occupational backgrounds. All respondents were randomly chosen and belonged to all income groups.

The study found that children watch a lot of adult programmes for want of adequate number of quality programmes or them. Advertisements of Airtel, Bharat Petroleum, Hutch, Bajaj DTS bikes, Britannia, etc. logged the highest recall rates among the respondents. Children mostly buy food items such as chips, candies, chocolates, snacks, toys and fancy stationery articles, very often displaying admirable brandh consciousness.

An interesting phenomenon noticed among the pre-teens was the `Pokemon effect'. In majority of cases, the respondents were found to be buying snacks not for consumption of the food item, but to collect little frills that go with them, the `Pokemon cards' being an interesting example. Cards carrying images of popular characters in the famous cartoon series called `Pokemon', aired on Cartoon Network, are a rage with the children and each purchase makes their or their parents' pockets lighter by Rs. 10.

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