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Only 3% of UK's TV oglers want more sex

Ofcom study finds smut, violence and swearing all in fine fettle

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Ofcom has been polling viewers about television standards, finding that most seem happy with how things are, even if they aren't entirely clear how the current state of play is maintained.

The figures come from Ofcom (PDF, lots of numbers), which asked 1,700 people their opinions, then repeated the process with another 1,700 people six months later to avoid seasonal distortion, discovering that 3 per cent of UK television viewers think there should be more sex on TV, 41 per cent think that internet content is regulated, and 25 per cent of PVR owners don't use them.

The number of people who think there should be more sex has dropped, from 6 per cent in 2001, but the vast majority (66 per cent) are happy with the levels of naughtiness on the telly. In fact viewers seem remarkably content with the regulatory process, with the nine o'clock watershed (before which all TV shows have to be kiddie-friendly) being recognised by 96 per cent of viewers, and considered appropriate by 77 per cent.

Fifty-two per cent know that broadcasters' Video on Demand services are regulated, which is good news for ATVOD (the VoD regulator), whose existence seems to come to as a surprise to most people, but that good news is slightly tempered by the 41 per cent of the population who believe internet content in general is regulated, with only 44 per cent believing it needs more regulation.

Internet content is regulated in the UK, just about. Most ISPs subscribe to the Internet Watch Foundation list, but that only covers the worst of the worst and is probably not what the respondents were referring to. Individual services such as YouTube will take down the most offensive of content, once a complaint has been received, but that's by choice, not regulation.

But Ofcom's study is really about TV, the primary source of news for 80 per cent of poor people (C2DE), and 72 per cent of everyone else (ABC1), which is only offending small numbers of folk. The older generation (above 65), unsurprisingly, think TV isn't as good as it was when they were young, though the majority seem pretty happy with the content they're getting on the goggle box.

Not that they care much – back in 2007 offensive content would cause 42 per cent to Switch Off Their Television Set And Do Something Less Boring Instead. These days that's dropped to a quarter. More than half of TV viewers will just switch to a less-offensive channel, while 16 per cent can't even be bothered to reach for the remote control. ®

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