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The bid to assess the television programme preference of youths in Nsit Ubium Local Government Area let to this research work. The research work probed into the frequency of and other reasons for viewership. It also found out whether academic level, gender (sex), occupation/vocation and age influence or affect the youth’s preference for television programmes which are categorized into Entertainment, Informative/Enlightenment, and Educative/Instructional programmes. The television station selected for the study was NTA channel 12, Uyo and Akwa Ibom Broadcasting Company (AKBC), Uyo. The study adopted the survey method with the questionnaire as instrument. The questionnaire made up of 200 items was distributed amongst the youths of the sample zone. The questionnaire was administered to youth in the urban town of Nsit Ubium. Findings of this study show that demographic variables as age, sex, and occupation/vocation, academic level influence the preference for entertainment programmes. The preference for entertainment programmes change to Information/Enlightenment programmes as the youths advance in age. Youths at their prime prefer more entertainment programmes that any other programme category. It is also deduced that the youths in Nsit Ubium prefer programmes from Akwa Ibom Broadcasting Company (AKBC) to that NTA channel 12 Uyo.
THE PROBLEM AND ITS SETTING
The importance of television as a medium of mass communication is becoming more appreciated in all part of the world. In the developed world, television has become the most ubiquitous of the mass media in both availability and audience exposure to the media (Sandman, Rubia and Sachsman 2006).
In Nigeria, there are indications that television that ranks newspaper as a channel of information and entertainment for both urban and rural dwellers (Okunna, 1984).
Where television derives its financial support from commercial advertisement and programmes sponsoring, it most of necessity, strive to reach the greatest number possible of the population to be able to attract sponsors and advertisers. This can only be done through interesting and popular programmes. Investors in stations and programmes alike realize and demand practical information on way to prepare programmes materials to achieve effects on the extent to which these materials once broadcast actually reach the desired audiences, and on the extent to which audiences once reached respond with desired behaviour.
However, there is much generalization about viewers that patronize television stations and their programmes which is not based on any data. There is need therefore, to design ways by which television stations and the programmes they offer to the viewers can be judged and possibly improved. Today, people expect programmes that will interest, but express dissatisfaction over the poor quality and level of production in some Nigerian television programmes.
A diligent survey around Nsit Ubium would reveal a growing trend in television programmes viewing habit and pattern among the youths or the area. A closer indicate that in the face of mounting improvement in television programmes schedules, these youths rather look yet would identify with, and prefer particular programmes broadcast by certain television stations to others. Given the present level of social enlightenment which has improved considerably in recent times in relation to the past, it will not be too alarming to learn that about our fifth of every two hundred youths actually have or can afford of still, has access to a television set.
The main aims of television however, include to entertain, inform and educate, research have revealed that of all the media of mass communication, broadcasting is the most effective form for transmitting messages from whatever source on various social changes programmes.
The advantage of television therefore, over other media and that, it transcends the boundaries of illiteracy; it breaks distances as a vast number of persons with television sets can receive a message simultaneously. It also provides a wider form for its audiences.
Blakely (2006) observes that; the order to actually acknowledge, the philosophical base of broadcast programming, the key guidelines are to study the regulations involved in the operations, government interest and the stream living of programming for public interest.
Aspinal (2006) state that; “the programme structure of a station and the way it is built up set the stations character or image”. The amount of time it gives to news and educational broadcasting are all aspects of the programmes structure of a television station.
The objective of any television station is not only to communicate messages to the target audience but also to receive favourable response. The realization of this objective will depend primarily on the performance of the communication media, their types of programmes and view patronage level.
1.2 Statement of the problem
A close observation will reveal that the youth of Nsit Ubium pay much attention to the two stations under survey; (AKBC and NTA channel 12) in this part of the federation. Today, people expect better programmes that will hold their interest, which expressing dissatisfaction over the poor quality and level of programmes of some television stations available to them. Consequently, one finds a situation where a person may tune to a particular station without bothering to tune to other stations. However, not clear what pattern of preference for television programmes and station exist. It is not know also, what categories of the youths respond in what manner to which programme types.
The following questions therefore come to mind;
What programmes do youths in Nsit Ubium prefer?
What determines their preference?
Which stations programmes do they prefer in Nsit Ubium?
1.3 Objectives of the study
The objectives of the study were to:
1. determine the programmes that attract the youths in Nsit Ubium
2. find out which station’s programmes the youths in Nsit Ubium
3. find out the television viewing pattern’s of youths in Nsit Ubium
4. determine what effect academic level, gender (sex), occupation, vocation, and age have in shaping the youths.
5. Find out what could be done to improve television viewership among the youths.
1.4 Research Questions
1. What types of programmes do youths in Nsit Ubium prefer?
2. Which stations programmes do the youth’s in Nsit Ubium prefer?
3. What is the television viewing frequency of youths in Nsit Ubium?
4. Does academic level, gender (sex), occupation/vocation and age influence affect the youth’s preference for television programmes?
5. What could be done to improve television viewership amongst the youths?
1.5 Justification for the study
This study is justified because television can help in moulding over youths positively and make them better citizens and future leaders of our country.
Secondly, the research will help programmes producers and directors in producing and scheduling good quality programmes that the television industries in Nigeria will benefit positively from.
Thirdly, it also aims at revealing a tendency that will encourage improves network of programmes by various television station based on the influence of perceived needs through preferences.
Fourthly, the researcher would know the communication approach to television viewership within and amongst the youths in Nigeria.
The study will also enable the researcher to use behavioural patterns to judge the degree of attention given to television programmes amongst youths in Nsit Ubium.
The study will provide the research with the knowledge of intellectual values when making recommendations for messages reception.
Finally, it will help close the knowledge gap that exists now as to the programmes preferred by the youths and the determinants of their preference. This will help producer to idealize programmes that are necessary for the Nigerian youths.
This study does not attempt to determine the audience knowledge or understanding of the techniques of television production (aesthetics). Rather, it strives to identify the number of people that tune to and watch a particular programme which appeals to them in place of another programmes, and the reasons operative for their choice or selectivity.
Moreso, this research is conducted within the scope of the selected television stations in Akwa Ibom State (AKBC and NTA channel 12). The selection of these stations has helped the researcher to ensure effective coverage of all the areas of study. Also, with the consideration for a proper research work, the study is limited to the sample zones of Nsit Ubium, Akwa Ibom State.
Research entails careful and objective approach to the subjects under study. Mass communication media have either positive or negative impact on the audience. The analysis in this study would have extended to all the stations and their programmes, atleast for effective comparisons of findings but because of time limit and financial constraint, this study is limited to the two television stations AKBC and NTA channel 12 Uyo.
1.8 Definition of terms
Words and terms have both denotative and connotative meanings. These meanings are determined by context and situation in which such words and terms are used. As a result, it is important to define terms in any study to give their contextual and operational meaning. The terms that have to be defined in the study are:
Viewers: Persons who view or watch the broadcast media especially NTA channel 12 and AKBC.
Programmes: Implies packaged message designed for airing in a television station for viewer’s consumption. These message ranges from informative, educative, entertainment programmes which covers in form of drama, news, interview, panel, discussion, documentary, debate, symposium, lecture, music, public service announcement among other forms of programmes.
Programming: taken to be a system in which a station determines the kinds of programme to be aired, the time of transmission and the duration of such programme. In order words, it refers to the scheduling of programmes to meet audience demand and convenience.
Viewers Preference: Viewer’s assessment and selection of programme from the numerous programmes aired on a television station
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