Indecency activists might cause a ruckus over Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” and Nicolette Sheridan’s towel drop, but more viewers are turned off by violence and foul language than nudity, according to a new poll.
In the E-Poll survey of 1,171 viewers ages 13 and up released last week, more viewers said they found sexual content (24 percent), violence (21 percent) and foul language (16 percent) more objectionable than nudity (10 percent).
“I think politicians, press and advocacy groups rally against nudity because it’s the easiest thing to attack, it’s very clear, while sexual content and violence is more subjective,” said E-Poll president and CEO Gerry Philpott. “Same with language; it’s a clear example if somebody says something on an award show.”
Males were less likely to be offended on every factor, save one-females surveyed rated foul language slightly less offensive than did men.
When survey participants were asked whether objectionable content makes them more or less likely to want to watch a program, the results were mostly inconclusive. Nearly one-third of respondents said such content made them more interested, slightly more than one-third said less interested and about one-third said it didn’t matter.
The survey also found that viewer attitudes toward broadcast network programming have shifted since the debut of the fall schedule. More respondents ascribed attributes such as “unique,” “provocative” and “cutting-edge” to broadcast than when surveyed last summer.
“You’ve got `Lost’ and `Desperate Housewives,’ plus `The O.C.’ gaining viewers. There’s been a dramatic increase in what people feel is edgy television on broadcast,” Mr. Philpott said.