Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Political demographics on the cheap

Posted by Dave Bath on 2007-06-15

There is a very cheap way of getting a good approximation on how well (or poorly) Australians are engaged with issues, and their main concerns.

There are two premises to this method:

  1. Advertisers spend a lot of money to decide on TV and newspaper placements
  2. You can infer much about people and their information base from the TV programs they watch, and the newspapers they read.

Keeping these in mind, look at the TV show ratings report from sources such as the Green Guide in Thursday’s The Age.

Now, looking at the TV show in question, extrapolate the audience targetted by the advertisements.

If you are looking at a show that purports itself as news or current affairs, you can make a fair stab at what the audience (inferred from the advertisements) knows about the world around them, and what current political and social issues they are concerned about, and even whether they are aware of certain issues.

You can often find issues that are "front-page" items in The Age and The Australian, leaders on the ABC and SBS news, but missing from commercial TV news/current-affairs shows and mentioned briefly (if at all) in the Herald-Sun on page 22 in a two-paragraph article.

Good examples are the Cornelia Rau and Virginia Solon scandals, which rarely, if ever, made an appearance in the tabloid newspapers and tabloid TV.

Is it any surprise that most people are not annoyed with John Howard, because they have probably never heard of the many instances of dishonesty, incompetence or corruption in the governance of this country?

Feel free to add your own observations of major news items unreported (or buried) by the tabloid press and TV.

Although most readers of this blog would rarely do so, change channels to view the tabloid TV news/current-affairs and take particular notice of the advertisements.  What can you infer from these?


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