[Reader-list] 5th posting from indira
indirabiswas at hotmail.com
Tue Jul 27 12:39:57 IST 2004
This is Indira.This time I would like to share with you a report on the the
programme preference and broadcast reactions of the CRS. It was the only
exhaustive report on the programme preference and broadcast reactions in
Calcutta of the CRS and was done and published by P. C. Mahalanabis in the
year 1941. A survey of this report would provide us with a clear picture of
the audience preference of the time. In Calcutta two random samples were
used. The first, which was called general sample consisted of 1503
families picked up at random out of the list of houses given in Thachers
Street Directory in predominantly middle class residential areas of
Calcutta. The second group consisted of 803 persons holding radio licenses
selected again at random out of the consolidated list supplied by the CRS.
Both these samples were intentionally picked up from the same geographical
area to enable comparisons being made between results. The radio sample
had, however, a comparatively large proportion of families with expenditure
above Rs.400 per month. This, the reporter felt, was the right amount for
possessing a radio in comfortable circumstances.
The report made a comparative study of uses and preference of radio,
gramophone and cinema as entertainment medias. It shows that a large
proportion of people, nearly half among both men (46.7 percent) and women
(51.17 percent) habitually listen to the radio; while a much lower
proportion, only about one-third habitually go to the cinema. The proportion
hearing the gramophone is small only about 17 or 18 percent.
The radio is used for entertainment with increasing frequency with advancing
years. The proportion going to the cinema is more or less steady up to 35
years, but then begins to decrease and falls to the very low value of 16.7
percent among persons above 55 years. The gramophone is used by a slightly
larger proportion of younger people below 18 years and by older people above
55 years than in the intermediate age group.
Education exerts little influence. Graduates use radio a little more
frequently and the gramophone a little less than undergraduates or non
matrics; otherwise differences are small, and probably negligible.
Coming to expenditure level, it was shown that the use of gramophone
probably decreases to some extent among families with a monthly expenditure
above Rs 40 while the use of radio increases beyond the level of Rs. 100 per
month. Variations are quite small in the case of the cinema, which show that
this form of entertainment was equally popular among all economic classes.
The study show that among occupational groups, the gramophone is used most
frequently by petty traders (26.0 percent) and least frequently by
professional people (12.7 percent) while the radio is used most frequently
by professional people (51.1 percent) and least frequently by petty traders
(42.0 percent). Differences in the case of the cinema are again quite small
and do not exceed five percent.
Turning to the entertainment preferences, the study reveals that habits and
preferences more or less go together. Certain deviations, however, from this
general rule are of considerable interest. Practically, everyone in all age,
educational, economic or occupational groups would like to go much more
frequently to the cinema and use the gramophone much less than they are
doing at present. The difference between habit and preference is less in the
case of radio; but on the whole, people would prefer to use the radio a
little less frequently than at present.
Although in actual fact the radio is used more frequently for entertainment
than the cinema it is clear that the latter is more popular in the sense
that more people would prefer to go to the cinema. That they do not actually
go to the cinema more frequently, especially in the case of well-to-do
people, is probably due to the long fixed hours and the necessity of going
out of doors. The radio can be turned on or off sitting at house whenever
one likes, and is thus more easily accessible in a physical sense. Also,
perhaps the question of recurring expenditure is a factor of some
importance. Once a radio is purchased, there is little visible expense in
keeping it up, while in going to the cinema tangible cash expenditure has to
be incurred on each occasion.
>From the general sample it was found out that among middle class families
a very large proportion, 91 percent among men and 86 percent among women,
take interest in current news. But, the radio serves as the medium of news
for about 35 percent of men and 44 percent of women. A much larger
proportion of men, nearly 60 percent, get their news from news papers while
only about 39 percent of women do so. As a vehicle of news, radio becomes
increasingly important with increasing economic level from about 17 percent
in the lowest expenditure group to about 41 percent among families with
monthly expenditure above Rs. 400. The popularity of radio decreases
steadily with increasing age, and is comparatively small among non matrics
and persons engaged in petty trade. The frequency of listening to the radio
definitely decreases with age but increases with increasing economic level.
The proportion of women who listen often to radio is 36.4 percent and is
much higher than the proportion of 19.5 percent among men. On the contrary,
the position is almost exactly reversed in the case of those who never
listen to the radio for we find that 36.4 percent of women do not do so
against 19.4 percent of men. The explanation is probably quite simple. Women
having access to a radio listen more frequently as they stay indoor more
often than men. But, in the case of families, which do not possess a radio
or have no access to one, the men could often go out and listen to the radio
from commercial sets or in friends houses; women could do this very rarely.
However, it is obvious from the general sample that radio being an expensive
item, was not a household item in the middle class families. It is more
apparent from the fact that while a large percentage of men and women wanted
information of war news, radio served as a medium of news to less than half
of the studied group.
In the Calcutta Radio Sample, out of the 887 persons, the institute picked
up 803 persons who speak Bengali to study their preferences for different
items of the programme in Bengali broadcasted from Calcutta in February and
March 1941. On the whole, we find from the study that war news and news
talks are most popular in the sense of being often or sometimes listened to
by a very large proportion of persons (77.4 and 74.4 percent respectively)
irrespective of age, education and occupation. The case of foreign news is
slightly different. It is least popular with petty traders and most popular
with professional people and students.
In the entertainment group modern (78.4 percent) and Tagore (74.4 percent)
music easily come at the top both in view of the large numbers who usually
listen to them and also in the very small (13.2 and 14.3 percent) numbers of
those who do not listen to these items at all. Instrumental music (73.4
percent), plays (68.8 percent) and devotional music (66.3 percent) come next
with classical (45 percent) a long way behind. In this group, however, age
exerts a strong influence. The proportion of persons listening often
steadily and consistently decreases with increasing age in the case of
modern (from 70.8 to 18.2 percent), Tagore (from 66.6 to 21.2 percent), and
instrumental music (from 50.0 to 27.3 percent), and plays (from 54.2 to 36.4
percent), while preference for devotional music increases (from 25.0 to 51.5
percent) with advancing age. In the case of classical appreciation is low in
the youngest age group below 18 years (16.7 percent) but attains the peak
value (29.9 percent) between 19 and 25 years and then steadily decreases to
12 percent among persons above 55 years. This may coincide with the CRS
claim that it was training its young listeners to develop an aptitude for
classical music. Turning to educational groups we find that plays, modern
and instrumental music have high popularity among non-matrics and
undergraduates. Both devotional and classical music steadily lose in
popularity with increasing educational qualifications. Devotional music is
most popular with landlords, which perhaps is significant. It is noteworthy
again that professional people have the lowest preference for classical
music. Modern and Tagore songs enjoy the highest popularity among students.
Petty traders have also a great liking for modern music but have the lowest
preference for Tagore music. This contrast is of considerable significance
as it reveals the heterogeneous nature of modern music, which consists of
two distinct strata, - one comparable to Tagore music and the other as if of
an inferior kind. In this connection it is worth noting that professional
people have the highest preference, next to students, for Tagore music and
at the same time the lowest preference for modern music. In the
entertainment group Tagore music thus stands out as a progressive item in
the sense of being more appreciated by people with higher educational
qualifications or by higher occupational groups like professional people.
Women, on the whole, are more interested in the entertainment group than in
news or talks with the sole exception of womens programme. Women
particularly very often listen to plays. Then comes modern music with
womens programme slightly behind. Their next preference is for Tagore music
with war news coming closely behind. This indicates that women in this
country, as far as those hearing the radio are concerned, are not quite
apathetic to current news, especially war news.
This report on audience preferences would be very helpful in writing the
broadcasting history of the region.
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