This study investigated audience attitudes to peak hour commercials. The objectives of the study were: to find out the level of exposure of the audience to peak hour commercials, to examine viewers’ extent of recall of commercials in peak hour programme, to find out viewers’ perception of commercial messages particularly during peak hour programmes and to find out viewers disposition to commercial messages during peak hour programmes. Survey research method was used for the study while questionnaire was the instrument of data collection. The sample size was 405 respondents while the sampling technique was multi-stage. The sample was drawn from three states from South East Nigeria namely, Anambra, Abia, and Enugu. The result of this study revealed that most (68%) of the respondents reported high exposure to peak hour commercials. The result further showed that 92% reported that they recall peak hour commercials. However, most (35.5%) of the respondents were found to have reported low extent of recall of peak hour commercials The result also revealed that 65% of the perceived peak hour commercials as interruption. Findings finally revealed that 57.1% reported that they are negatively disposed to peak hour commercials. The study concludes that respondents perceive peak hour commercials as interruption. The researcher recommends, among others, that the broadcast media should minimize the level of peak hour commercial interruption and the NBC should consider regulating the spate of peak hour commercial interruptions in Nigeria.


Title page
Table of contents
List of tables

1.1       Background of the study
1.2       Statement of the problem
1.3       Objectives of Study
1.4       Research Questions
1.5       Significance of the Study
1.6       Scope of Study
1.7       Operational Definition of Terms

2.0       Focus of Review
2.1       The Concept of Audience
2.2       The Concept of Attitude
2.3       The Concept of Peak Hour Commercial
2.4       Review of Empirical Studies
2.5       Theoretical Framework
2.5.1 Psychological Reactance Theory (PRT)

3.1       Research Design
3.2       Population of the study
3.3       Sampling size
3.4       Sampling Technique
3.5       Instrument for Data Collection
3.6       Method of administration of instrument
3.7       Validation and Reliability of Research Instrument
3.8       Method of Data Collection and Analysis

4.1       Data Presentation
4.2       Discussion of findings
4.3       Summary of Findings

5.1       Summary
5.2       Conclusion
5.3       Recommendations



1.1                 Background of the Study

The  media  of  mass  communication  have  a  responsibility  in  any  society  where  they

operate. Neher and Sandain (2007: p.211) assert that people turn to the news media for the

accurate reporting of facts so that they can decide what is right and what ought to be done.

However, the social responsibility function of the mass media is conflicting with the desire to

make money (Udomisor & Akutus, 2013, p.29).

The social responsibility theory holds that for the press to function as a free enterprise; it must

be responsible to a society in which it operates and the media are able to raise issues of public

importance and interest (Asemah 2011, p.146). The Nigerian media today often times do not

perform this social duties and important topic of discourse that the media would have brought as

agenda are being compromised for money. O’Neill (1999 in Azeez, 2009) paints a vivid picture of

the rising cases of commercialization thus;

In today’s growing capitalist world, economic imperative and profit making underline every activity and all services; even religious undertaking is not left out in the commoditization of every single bit of our modern life. Invariably, the noble profession which ought to serve the primary interest of the public as a watchdog of the government is not spared from the frenzy world of business world and demands of our time. This has brought about terrible implications on the quality of information and public enlightenment we are served by the news organizations…

The   assertion   above   provides   an   insight   on   the   commonness    of   commercialization    in

contemporary society and how it has spilled over to the media, thus leading to what is called news

commercialization.   Asemah   (2011,  p.33)    in   his   opinion   said   that  “there   is   an   increasing

commercialization of the media in Nigeria, the situation that has brought the integrity of the mass

media enterprise to question.” The rate of commercialization in the media is now high at the

expense of the objectivity and other ethical values of the media. Johnson (2001, p.2) asserts that balancing the cost of high quality journalism against corporate profit is one of the significant

changes in journalism practice today.

In the bid to raise money for their daily operation, the media brought about commercial

break. Mick (2004, p.15) opines that commercial break is a built-in form of interruption within or

between different programmes on the commercial television channels. Most people turn on the

television in order to watch the programmes, and not the advertising. When watching alone, (i.e.,

viewing) the commercial break or a particular advertisement can be seen as a motivated act;

people chose for a reason to watch or not to watch (Scott 1994, p.15).

According to this proposition, the viewer is not an unwitting recipient of television advertising,

instead, the potential audiences for advertising are governed by different motivations which can

lead to different outcomes in the media use. This explanation fits into the           tenets of uses and

gratification hypothesis.    According to the uses and gratifications approach, individuals select

media to accomplish some end (Andersen &Meyer 1988, p.15). What this means, is that any

interruption known as peak hour commercial may lead to a reaction from the audience. Pechu,

(2014, p.6) provides more insight into issue of commercial interruption thus:

While viewers are watching programmes, it is a common practice that television houses often slot in commercials which break the continuity of these programmes to the irritation of viewers. The advertisers often want their commercials to be aired at prime time, while these viewers want their favourite programmes to be uninterrupted by commercials. This creates conflicts between the interest of advertisers and interest of viewers. Television houses do not seem to see anything unusual or abnormal per se about this situation.

The submission above provides an understanding of the dilemma media practitioners’ face. Peak

hour is the block of broadcast programming taking place during the middle of the evening for

television programming. The term peak hour is often defined in terms of a fixed time period-from

7pm to 10pm or 8pm to 11pm. Peak hour is the day part (a block of a day’s programming

schedule) with the most viewers and is generally where television networks and local stations reap much of their advertising revenues (Akpan 2006, p. 46). During peak hour, ratings for television programme are high and there is also an attraction of the time slot for advertisers.

Mass media audience is often described as the final destination of the mass media messages (the receiver) in a sender –message – receiver system (Nightingale, 1984). The media audience according to Asemah (2011, p.8) is a large, diversified, highly dispersed, anonymous, heterogeneous and faceless group which can either be classified with their demographic or psychographic variables. The audience is very central in the communication process.

The Conference Board of Canada (2000,p.25) observes that understanding what your audience needs and expects, and adapting your messages accordingly, greatly enhances your chances of communicating successfully and that the communication process is the most complex of human activities, and the audience is central to that process. The relevance of the assertion of the Conference Board of Canada to this study is that, it has provided a reason on why the issue of audience attitude to peak hour commercial should be of interest to researchers.

Attitude is a psychological disposition towards an issue which either favours or disfavours the issue. Pechu (2014, p.16) holds that attitude is a formidable factor in any human communication that define a psychological predisposition that allows a person to behave in a certain way towards objects, people or actions. Audience attitude therefore is the disposition of mass media audience. This study thus investigates audience attitude towards peak hour commercial in south east Nigeria.

1.2 Statement of the Problem
One of the problems facing broadcasting today is how to balance social responsibility with income generation. Relevant and extant documents such as the National Broadcasting Code (2010) and the Nigerian Union of Journalists Code of Ethics (2013) have specified that......

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