Research Ngā Rangahau

Litmus Testing BSA Decisions 2012/2013

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Litmus Testing BSA Decisions 2012/2013 PDF1.73 MB

Date published:
April 2013

Research Company: Nielsen Corporation


  • To gauge the public’s current attitude and to determine whether the public can understand (and accept) the rationale for the BSA’s decisions in relation to the Children’s Interest standard.   


  • Four focus group meetings were conducted in Auckland with 6 participants in each group.
  • Three of the groups were made up of parents/caregivers of children aged 2–14 years and one group consisted of participants living in households without children.

Context for Interpretation of Results

  • Participants were shown clips rather than the whole programme (BSA decisions have to take into account the programme as a whole).
  • When the clips were first shown they provided a useful snapshot of the immediate reaction to the clips. The participants were then provided more information about what the BSA had to factor in to their considerations (ie, the BSA’s reasoning), to determine if they changed their views.
  • The five decisions chosen for litmus testing were deliberately chosen as some of the more challenging ones. The BSA did not want to test the more straightforward ones to try to get good results.    


  • Prior to seeing a summary of the BSA’s reasoning, the participants' initial reaction to each clip was often at odds with the BSA’s decision.
  • However, for all clips (except one relating to Family Guy), once the participants had seen summaries outlining the BSA’s rationale, and understood the legal and other guidelines the BSA follows, the majority of them agreed with or at least accepted the BSA’s decisions.
  • Observations were also made by the participants that may inform any future development of codes or classification systems. For example, a number of participants wanted clarity about how soon after the 8.30pm watershed it is acceptable for AO content to be shown. Others were confused about the meaning of the PGR rating.