>> Overview research
In trend research, reception studies are carried out on current ratings hits among young target groups. These studies focus on current TV formats, the aim being to explain children's and adolescents' interest in and fascination with these television programmes, and to identify potential media-pedagogical problems.
Eating Disorders and Television Programmes (2015)
Study part 1: Study of people with an acute eating disorder (anorexia/bulimia) on the significance of television formats in the context of their illness
In western industrial countries eating disorders are one of the most prevalent psychosomatic illnesses among girls and young women. In cooperation with the Bundesfachverband Essstörungen e.V. (BFE) (Federal Association for Eating Disorders), the Internationales Zentralinstitut für das Jugend- und Bildungsfernsehen (IZI) (International Central Institute for Youth and Educational Television) asked 241 people with eating disorders (predominantly women with anorexia and bulimia) about the role television programmes played in the development of their illness. The youngest participant was 11 years old; well over half were under 21 years old.
Series Germany's Next Topmodel can foster eating disorders
Study part 2: Representative study of children and adolescents
In a further study in March 2015 in cooperation with the BFE, the IZI interviewed a representative sample of 1,462 6 to 19 year-olds. First, BMI data was collected, and the girls and boys were asked to what extent they considered themselves too fat. Subsequently, a survey was taken of people who watch the programme Germany’s Next Topmodel (a format based on America’s Next Top Model), which was identified in another study as particularly significant with regard to the intensification of eating disorders. The study therefore presents current data on the development of the BMI and on body satisfaction among children and adolescents, accompanied by the question of to what extent parallels can be drawn with watching Germany’s Next Topmodel.
Current data on BMI and adolescents' idea of being too fat
The Bachelor (2014)
For years, the match-making show Der Bachelor (based on the American format The Bachelor) has been very popular in Germany, especially among young women. During the seven weeks of the show, a man goes on action-packed group dates or romantic individual dates with nearly 20 potential partners and must choose, from among these, the new partner most suitable for him. Each week, the decisive “Night of the Roses” takes place, when ineligible contestants are dropped.
319 fans between the ages of twelve and 70 took part in the online IZI reception study focusing on the fascination of this format. The questionnaires of viewers up to 26 years old (n=174) were analysed further. The fans are on average 20.7 years old; 89% are (young) women.
The Bachelor – Why highly educated young women in particular love the "casting show for the dream bride of the year"
The Bachelorette (2014)
Die Bachelorette (based on the American format The Bachelorette) takes the same format as Der Bachelor – but with the roles reversed. In Die Bachelorette a woman can therefore choose from a series of men.
Of the online questionnaires – totalling 147 – filled in by viewers between the ages of 16 and 67, those of fans up to the age of 26 (n=67) were likewise included in the study. They are on average 21.3 years old; 96 % are (young) women.
Ich bin ein Star – Holt mich hier raus! (2014)
In Ich bin ein Star – Holt mich hier raus! (based on the British format I’m a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!) ten to eleven more or less famous people live together for 16 days in a camp in the Australian bush under permanent observation. Every day at least one contestant must take a jungle test (called a “bushtucker trial” in the original British series) which involves s/he overcoming feelings of fear and disgust. Since 2004 the show has been one of the most revolting but also one of the most successful formats on German television. The programme is one of the top media topics in social discourse at the respective time of broadcast.
An online IZI reception study involving 250 viewers of Ich bin ein Star – Holt mich hier raus! between the ages of twelve and 66 examined the fascination of the reality show. The answers of the 113 respondents between the ages of twelve and 26 were analysed further.
Love, Blood and Sex – the Fascination of Vampire Formats
Vampire formats have been very popular with children and adolescents for years. A worldwide online study involving 917 vampire fans between the ages of eight and 67 from 49 countries investigated why fans are so fascinated with these formats. The most popular vampire formats in this study are:
- The Vampire Diaries (420 fans)
- True Blood (171 fans)
- Twilight (148 fans)
- Buffy – Im Bann der Dämonen (Buffy the Vampire Slayer dubbed into German) (120 fans)
Bulla, Christine; Esmailzadeh, Sonja; Mendel, Caroline: Danger, excitement, epic love and being special. The fascination with vampire programmes. TelevIZIon, 27/2014/E, 47-49.
The Experience of Taking Part in a Talent Show, in Two Sub-Studies (2012)
In collaboration with the Landesanstalt für Medien Nordrhein-Westfalen (LfM) (North Rhine Westphalia State Media Authority), the IZI studied the media phenomenon of the experience of taking part in talent shows from the point of view of both the participants and the recipients.
“Surely a great experience” – Representative study of 6 to 17 year-olds on what they think it is like to take part in a talent show
For years, talent shows have been top of the list of favourite television formats among 10 to 17 year-olds. For the first time, 1,230 girls and boys aged between six and 17 in a representative sample were asked what they thought the experience of taking part in a talent show was like for the contestants, and whether they themselves would like to take part.
The dream of taking part in a talent show
Springboard or crisis? The experience of taking part in a talent show
For the first time worldwide, 59 former participants in various music talent shows were asked what they thought, in hindsight, of the experience of taking part in a talent show. The informants had participated in a format broadcast in Germany within the last twelve years and were now giving information about this in retrospect.
Springboard or crisis? The “talent show experience”.
Scripted Reality: How Children and Adolescents Interpret Familien im Brennpunkt (2011)
A collaborative study with the Landesanstalt für Medien Nordrhein-Westfalen (LfM) (North Rhine Westphalia State Media Authority) investigated what children like about the scripted reality format Familien im Brennpunkt (“Families in Focus”) (RTL) and how they interpret the programme. This involved putting general questions to 861 children and adolescents between the ages of six and 18 and detailed questions to 294 viewers of Familien im Brennpunkt. In addition, media analyses were carried out.
Scripted Reality: Why X-Diaries Appeals to Adolescents (2011)
The scripted reality TV format X-Diaries, which has been running since 2010 in RTL2’s early evening slot, is mainly watched by adolescents and young adults. In a collaborative study with the Landesanstalt für Medien Nordrhein-Westfalen (LfM) (North Rhine Westphalia State Media Authority), the IZI investigated, via a study of fans involving 107 regular recipients, what it is that adolescents and young adults find fascinating about this format, whether they realise the programme is scripted, and what pedagogical problems it poses.
Talent Shows and their Significance for Children and Adolescents (2009)
For years, formats such as Germany’s Next Topmodel (GNTM) (a format based on America’s Next Top Model) or Deutschland sucht den Superstar (DSDS) (“Germany Seeks a Superstar”, a spin-off from the British format Pop Idol) have dominated the list of children’s and adolescents’ favourite television programmes, reaching a market share of up to 70 %. In this study the IZI asked what children and adolescents like about talent shows, and what they take from them, both consciously and unconsciously. In total, 1,303 pupils between the ages of nine and 22 took part in the qualitative and quantitative studies.
Götz, Maya: “To See How they Progress and Develop”. The Fascination with Germany’s Next Topmodel. In: Götz, Maya, TV-Hero(in)es of boys and girls. Reception studies of favorite characters (pp. 379-413). Frankfurt, Main: Lang 2014.