Public Awareness Survey 2019

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Date published: July 2019

Research Company: UMR Research Ltd



Every two years the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) commissions a survey to measure the percentage of New Zealanders who are aware of the BSA, and aware they can make a formal complaint about an alleged breach of broadcasting standards. This survey enables the BSA to assess its impact and is one of the ways it measures the effectiveness of its functions and services.

This year the survey methodology was adjusted to increase the reach to Māori, Pasifika and Asian communities.  This was to assist in determining whether further work was required by BSA to ensure these communities are aware of and can access the BSA broadcasting standards system.

This year (as in 2017) the BSA also included questions about the level of awareness and use of filtering technology/parental lock capability on pay television, free-to-air television and other platforms. We wanted to see if awareness and use of these protection tools has increased over time.


The survey revealed high levels of awareness of both the BSA and of audience ability to complain. 89% of New Zealanders are aware of the BSA. 84% are aware they can make a formal complaint and 91% of New Zealanders are aware they can take a course of action to find out how to make a formal complaint.

The results also demonstrated good awareness levels amongst Māori, Pasifika and Asian communities. However, awareness of the BSA was slightly lower for Pasifika (62%), Asian (72%) and Māori (82%) participants, compared to non-Māori/Pasifika/Asian respondents (93%).  

Asian respondents were less likely to know for sure they could make a formal complaint (66%) or that they could take a course of action that would lead them to finding out about how to make a formal complaint (79%).

There has been no change to general levels of awareness of filtering technologies (parental locks) since the 2017 survey (46% of respondents aware) and, depending on the platform, only 4 – 15% of New Zealanders know how to use filtering technology and personally use it.


These results will inform the BSA’s ongoing education and engagement programme as we work to:

  • increase accessibility of our services/remove barriers (eg through targeted education programmes and providing more translations of key resources)
  • support and educate parents/caregivers regarding tools they can use to manage content for children in their care.