Media Landscape Study

NEW YORK — Comedy, talent competition and sports shows are the most popular types of programming for family viewing, according to new research from the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) Alliance for Family Entertainment (AFE). The new findings from the influential group of America’s top national family advertisers also explored how parents learn about shows and what criteria they use to determine whether or not programming is suitable for their families.

The survey was commissioned by the AFE and conducted by research firm Penn Schoen Berland. In online surveys, 3,000 consumers — mothers, fathers and caregivers — were asked to evaluate 140 top primetime cable and broadcast programs. The study found that consumers are especially likely to look for humor in shows to watch with their families. Talent competition shows ranked high as well, with about half of all respondents indicating that the genre provides good programming for family viewing.

Major sporting events also found favor as multigenerational viewing options, with two-thirds of parents saying the Olympics are good for families to watch and more than half saying the same about the Super Bowl and the World Series.

The list of 140 shows, in order of preference, included both total market and Hispanic-only show preferences. The proprietary insight on specific shows was shared exclusively with AFE members.

“This data gives AFE members powerful and timely information that, when integrated into their media plans, can directly impact their brands’ ROIs,” said Walmart Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer and AFE Chairman Stephen Quinn. “There were some surprises in terms of which shows today’s modern family consumer chooses to watch. Yet overall, the new programming study continues to affirm previous AFE proprietary research findings, that parents and caregivers reward the brands that support programming multigenerational audiences can enjoy together.”

The study also looked at media behavior and found that the majority of parents, 54 percent, turn to TV commercials for information on new shows. Trailers for new shows are important tools for parents as they assess whether a particular program is appropriate for their family to watch. However, social media also plays a pivotal role in those decisions, with more than one out of every five parents turning to social networks for information about shows. Moms, particularly, use social media to see what other moms are watching.

The AFE defines family entertainment as high-quality programming that portrays modern families dealing with the complex issues that impact their lives in today’s society. When programming includes conflicts between characters, it embodies positive resolution to those conflicts and, when appropriate, provides viewers with teachable moments on how to navigate difficult situations. The AFE supports programming that is viewing appropriate for children ages 8 and older.

About the ANA and AFE

Association of National Advertisers (ANA)

The ANA (Association of National Advertisers) provides leadership that advances marketing excellence and shapes the future of the industry. Founded in 1910, ANA’s membership includes more than 565 companies with 10,000 brands that collectively spend over $250 billion in marketing and advertising. The ANA pursues “collaborative mastery” that advances the interests of marketers and promotes and protects the well-being of the marketing community. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter, or join us on Facebook.

ANA Alliance for Family Entertainment (AFE)

The AFE (ANA Alliance for Family Entertainment) is a coalition of national advertisers, supported by the ANA, which represents almost 40% of all U.S. television advertising dollars. With members including American Licorice Company, The Coca-Cola Company, Colgate-Palmolive, Crayola, Kellogg Co., J. M. Smucker’s, IBM, PepsiCo, Post Foods, Procter & Gamble Co., SC Johnson, Six Flags, State Farm Insurance, Subway, Unilever, Verizon Wireless and Walmart, the group’s mission is to find, nurture, develop, and support high-quality content the entire family can enjoy on multiple distribution platforms. Since its inception in 1998, the AFE has utilized its collective member strength to bring to air more than 20 prime-time broadcast network television hits, keep innovative family content in the development pipeline, team with YouTube for the industry’s first family content partnership, and create the annual “Search for America’s Newest Scriptwriter” contest, the nation’s only competition for non-union storytellers.


Association of National Advertisers
Patty Kerr, 310-344-4487