The Community Broadcaster of Australia (CBA) has provided a wide range of shows for children and adults throughout Australia. Since CBA planned to improve its understanding of television (TV) viewers for better quality and program scheduling, it had conducted a market research of mail survey at limited cost to identify the factors most influencing viewers on program selection. By doing so, CBA could improve TV program ratings and hence better government funding allocation. The market research, however, had flaws in sampling and questionnaires that resulted in hardly explainable findings. Sampling size of 1000 households was appropriate because of limited resources of CBA. The chosen households did not well represent the total population, since the survey only covered Sydney metropolitan area.
People living in other states and suburbs might have significant difference in viewing preference. Results from some non-representative respondents would provide inaccurate findings of the relevant population (Quester et al 2001: 119).
Moreover, time-consuming in completing the survey questionnaires greatly reduced the response rate and hence a few unusual responses were likely to make a significant difference on research findings (Quester et al 2001: 120).
Unreliable data might have been obtained from Questionnaires Section 1. The respondents were asked what they viewed during a specified week in which they would easily provide inaccurate responses, as they might not remember what they had viewed exactly in that week. Over-questioning on personality did not help find relevant research findings as personality is too complicated issue for this research purpose.
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A better methodology could have been used for obtaining more reliable data. CBA can firstly conduct focus group interview (qualitative approach) with households from which detailed preferences and characteristics of TV viewers can be obtained. These preferences and data can be further tested with a larger, more representative households, say 1000, through computer-aided telephone interviewing (quantitative approach).
The qualitative approach provides relevant hypotheses. These hypotheses are then tested by quantitative research with large representative households to assure more reliable research findings (Quester et al 2001: 118).
The questionnaires can be designed to include more variables which probably can be obtained from focus group interview.
The variables include time spending weekday and weekend on TV, preference on viewing sessions and program types, age of the respondents, household income and number of family members. The decision maker in household for program selection should always be asked to response to the questionnaires. CBA is recommended to adopt the above methodology that enables its research department to develop ongoing and systematic research through a mixed qualitative and quantitative approach. The current situation of CBA is favorable because of good rating achieved and wide range of programs offered. Financial dependence of CBA is the major weakness that can be drawn from this case study. However, the research department may help identify viewers! | preferences to improving the quality of programs so that good ratings and hence sound funding allocation can be assured.
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Finally, secondary data about TV viewers! | opinions are readily accessible through Internet. It will be helpful to understand the viewers before any research is conducted.