A Comparison of Three Research Methodologies for Pilot Testing New Television Programs

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Office of Communication Research, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, 1981 - Television broadcasting - 132 pages
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Three methods of conducting television pilot testing research--the evaluation of television programs for their potential in attracting target and general audiences--are compared and contrasted in the three sections of this report. The introductory section provides an overview of the research, outlines the goals and objectives of the pilot programs, and briefly describes the three pilot testing methods: the Percy System, which relies on a panel of 200 television households equipped with special viewer response devices; the Program Evaluation Analysis Computer (PEAC) System, which uses a more portable version of the Percy viewer-response device; and traditional focus group discussions, which bring together a specially selected group of people to view, discuss, and evaluate a pilot television program. The main section of the report contains the three program-viewer analyses developed by the three methodologies. The final section presents convergent and divergent findings across the three research methods, focusing particularly along six evaluation criteria: (1) providing articulate and relatively unbiased viewer feedback, (2) facilitating the development of norm-building pilot testing criteria, (3) flexibility in the assessment of special programing objectives, (4) producing meaningful diagnostic feedback to producers, (5) yielding suggestions for broad programing directions, and (6) providing timely and cost-effective sampling and data analysis. (RL)

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