A content analysis of alcohol content in UK television

Alexander B. Barker, Kathy Whittamore, John Britton, R L Murray, Jo Cranwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (SciVal)


Exposure to audio-visual alcohol content in media is associated with subsequent alcohol use in young people, but the extent of exposure contained in UK free-to-air prime-time television has not been explored since 2010. We report an analysis of alcohol content in a sample of UK free-to-air prime-time television broadcasts in 2015 and compare this with a similar analysis from 2010.

Content analysis of all programmes and advertisement/trailer breaks broadcast on the five national UK free-to-air channels in the UK between 6 and 10 pm during three separate weeks in September, October and November 2015.

Alcohol content occurred in over 50% of all programmes broadcast and almost 50% of all advert/trailer periods between programmes. The majority of alcohol content occurred before the 9 pm watershed. Branding occurred in 3% of coded intervals and involved 122 brands, though three brands (Heineken, Corona and Fosters) accounted for almost half of all brand appearances.

Audio-visual alcohol content, including branding, is prevalent in UK television, and is therefore a potential driver of alcohol use in young people. These findings are virtually unchanged from our earlier analysis of programme content from 2010.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)462-469
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Public Health
Issue number3
Early online date25 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2019


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