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Comunicar Journal 25: Quality Television (Vol. 13 - 2005)

The influence of television on TV viewers’ consuming habits: the viewer’s associations report


Television is the archetype of all mass media. As sight is the sense which provides us with the most direct experience of things, television makes us feel that what we see is in fact real, and in this way contributes powerfully to the forming of public opinion. Most of the new forms of behaviour are imposed by television. The image overpowers our thinking and converts everything that doesn’t appear on the screen as irrelevant. It seems to be impossible to imagine our world without television, the most powerful provider of audiovisual messages ever to exist. Our eyes receive in just a few hours more images than those received by tens of generations previous to ours. The power of these images is taken advantage of by advertising, which by means of short, dynamic images is capable of seducing the TV viewer, enticing him or her to consume products which, in reality, are far from having the «marvellous» characteristics which television provides them with. Television has favoured consumerism. The consumer society, born in The United States in the 1920s and extended thirty years later to the rest of the developed countries has been strengthened by the growth of television and the enormous amount of time that people spend opposite a TV screen, more than three hours on average. The abundance of material goods shown for the first time to be available to all citizens concorded with their possibility of purchasing them and enjoying them. Consumerism is stimulated by advertisements which appear on television and satisfies the individual’s hunger to buy. This percentage is greater among young people and teenagers, the majority of whom dedicate less time to reading, show little interest in school material, watch a lot of television, play videogames, etc. There are a lot of studies offering information which shows that the abuse of audiovisual material leads to a type of passive learning, causing the children to be less creative and imaginative, and many even lose their curiosity to learn. But not everything which appears on television is damaging to the learning of good habits and behaviour. From schools, educational campaigns orientated towards the positive use of the media should be carried out in order to convert them into a tool for learning; at the same time, parents should tech their children that everything that they see or hear on the media doesn’t always correspond to reality. The present study intends to analyse how the associations of TV viewers defend the television audiences and try to regulate the contents which appear on the screen, with the main objective of regulating the television contents which directly reach the consumer. The concept of associations of TV viewers in Spain is a new one and still doesn’t have any real weight in the choice of contents or in the control of what type of programmes appear on television. The power of television in the forming of opinions, fashions and consumerism in the viewer, as well as the role which the Associations of TV viewers perform, are the core of what it has based this study on.