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Serving all ages

The views of audiences and experts

Man with grandaughter
Published: January 2012

Aim

This report informs the media industry about how audiences feel about age portrayal and representation.

Findings

The majority of people are not concerned with how the media deals with age.

  • 17% said they were mildly dissatisfied.  

However, three key issues regarding age did emerge from the discussions.

Negative representations of younger people

  • 40% of younger participants said they were dissatisfied. They felt that young people were too frequently portrayed engaging in risky behaviours, being disrespectful and living unproductive or vacuous lives.

A lack of coverage of older people

  • Older people were more concerned about the amount of coverage of their age group rather than its portrayal. Many audience participants perceived older people had less air time than other age groups on television.

The ‘invisibility’ of middle-aged women

  • While the coverage of middle-aged people was much less of an issue, lack of middle-aged and older women on television was noted by all age groups and genders.

Methodology

We ran focus groups and workshops with 180 people aged 13–92. 

Read the report