Alcohol in music videos concerns

SHABNAM DASTGHEIB
Last updated 09:45 19/06/2012

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The portrayal of alcohol use in music videos has increased to concerning levels in recent years, a new study says.

Researchers at the University of Otago in Wellington have analysed alcohol content in music videos from 2005 and 2010 and found it to have increased by nearly 5 per cent overall.

In rhythm and blues music videos, the jump was close to 18 per cent.

Hip-hop and rhythm and blues music videos contained the highest percentage of alcohol references at 30 per cent.

The study looked at 564 music videos in 2005 on C4, Juice and TV2 and 861 in 2010 on Juice.

The overall proportion of music videos which showed alcohol content increased from 15.7 per cent to nearly 20 per cent.

In the 2010 sample, in videos with alcohol content, a third showed alcohol being consumed and a third showed the main artist involved with alcohol.

Researcher Fiona Imlach Gunasekara said this much alcohol portrayal was of concern.

"There is robust research evidence which shows that watching music videos, especially those with a high level of positive alcohol portrayals, encourages increased drinking in young people."

Videos with overseas artists were more likely to include alcohol than those with New Zealand musicians, the study shows.

Gunasekara said the problem was more widespread than just on television, and that alcohol featured on the internet as well.

"However ratings surveys estimate that even Juice TV hits 70 per cent of viewers under 35 years, so there is potentially quite a significant impact."

Alcohol branding was relatively uncommon which suggested a lack of industry sponsorship.

The study suggests several policy directions to address the issue, one would be to recommend that any music videos that get NZ on Air funding do not refer to or portray alcohol use. Another suggestion is to restrict the videos to only be broadcast late at night.

Earlier this year, the Broadcasting Standards Authority upheld a complaint about a music video by the group LMFAO, saying that the liquor promotion in it was not socially responsible.

A complainant alleged the song "Shots" breached standards relating to liquor, children's interests, discrimination and denigration and good taste and decency. It screened at 7pm on C4.

The BSA upheld the complaints relating to liquor and children's interests.

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- The Dominion Post

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