What the flick? Viewers not turned off by violence, sex and swearing, say Ofcom as watershed turns 50

Cult TV shows like Game of Thrones, The Wire and Hannibal may be causing fewer Mancunians to be turned off by violence, sex and swearing than ever before.

In the 50th anniversary of the watershed, the 9pm deadline set to protect viewers from offensive content on television, viewers are more proving to be more relaxed about what they tune into.  

Over three quarters of viewers across all age-groups today believe the watershed is at the right time compared to 70% in 2008, claims television watchdog.

Ofcom’s Director of Standards Tony Close said: “Fifty years on, the TV watershed remains a vital means of protecting viewers.

“While attitudes have changed over the decades, Ofcom ensures that television standards meet the expectations of viewers.

“We take robust enforcement action when the rules are broken, which reflects the importance we place on protecting children.”

Of parents who watch television, 80% agree, compared to 72% in 2008, and today, adults across the board are almost four times more likely not to switch channels when they see material they find offensive than they were in 2008.

Even older viewers are muting there complaints with almost half of those over-65 saying levels of violence and swearing are not a cause for concern.

However, the battle has moved from the living room to the tablet as over a third of children aged five-to-15 are now watching on-demand content on the internet.

The rules state that the transition to ‘more adult’ material after 9pm must not be ‘unduly abrupt’ and the strongest material should be shown later at night.

When the guidelines were introduced, programmes scheduled included Z Cars and Dixon of Dock Green – unbelievably tame in comparison with what fills our screens nowadays.

Claudio Pollack, Director of Ofcom’s Consumer and Content Group, said: “We’re working on ways to help ensure that the protections viewers expect from the watershed apply beyond broadcast TV.”

Image courtesy of Daniel Horacio Agostini with thanks

Related Articles