Children's Exposure to Television Advertising in 1977 and 2004: Information for the Obesity Debate: A Bureau of Economics Staff Report

Authors:
Debra J. Holt, Pauline M. Ippolito, Debra M. Desrochers, Christopher R. Kelley

This study provides a comprehensive assessment of the amount and type of television advertising seen by children in 2004 and compares these results to similar studies conducted for the Federal Trade Commission's 1978 Children's Advertising Rulemaking. This study finds that children in 2004 are exposed to more television ads, fewer paid ads, and fewer food ads compared to 30 years ago. Over half of children's exposure to food advertising comes from children's shows in 2004 compared to about 25 percent in 1977. Sixty-one percent of children's ad exposure and 72 percent of their food ad exposure is from cable programming, but nearly 30 percent comes from primetime broadcast programming. This report also provides a baseline against which to measure future changes in children's exposure to television advertising as parents, firms and children react to obesity concerns.