What do we see when we watch TV? In 2003, in collaboration with faculty from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and the Department of Preventive Medicine at Keck School of Medicine, Hollywood, Health & Society launched the TV Monitoring Project, a systematic content analysis of health depictions in the most watched primetime TV shows.
TV Monitoring Project
Over the course of more than 10 years, the TV Monitoring Project has tracked the frequency, prominence, and nature of depictions of more than 100 different health topics and beginning in 2012, issues related to climate change and sustainability.
This analysis enables us to answer questions such as what types of health issues are featured most often and most prominently, as well as how these issues are framed. For instance, our research has shown that although the majority of health storylines address treatment (61%) and symptoms (57%), relatively few provide information on risk factors (13%) or prevention (6%).
Each year, HH&S recruits a team of graduate students to serve as content coders on the TV Monitoring Project. After completing a rigorous training, coders are assigned shows to view and code from January through May.
To learn more about the HH&S TV Monitoring Project, see our publications below.
- Rosenthal, E.L. (2015). The Food We See, the Food They Eat: The Image of Food in Entertainment. A report by Hollywood, Health & Society, USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center. Beverly Hills, CA.
- Rosenthal, E.L., Murphy, S.T. & Talati, S. (2014). An analysis of health content in popular prime time television programs: 2009-2011. A report by Hollywood, Health & Society, USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center. Beverly Hills, CA.
- Pariera, K.L., Hether, H.J., Murphy, S.M., Buffington, S.C., & Baezconde-Garbanati, L. (2014). Portrayals of reproductive and sexual health issues on primetime television. Health Communication 29, 698-706.
- Hether, H.J. & Murphy, S.T. (2009, June). Sex roles in health storylines on primetime television: A content analysis. Sex Roles, 62, 11-12, 810-821.
- Murphy, S.T., Wilkin, H.A., Cody, M.J. & Huang, G.C. (2008). Health messages on primetime television: A longitudinal content analysis. In A. Jordan, D. Kunkel, J. Manganello & M. Fishbein (Eds.), Media Messages and Public Health: A Decisions Approach to Content Analysis (pp. 173-191). New York: Routledge.
- Murphy, S.T., Hether, H.J., & Rideout, V. (2008). How healthy is prime time: An analysis of health content in popular prime time television programs. A report by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center’s Hollywood, Health & Society. Menlo Park, CA: Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.
Hollywood, Health & Society collaborates on research with faculty, students, scientists, subject matter experts and entertainment industry professionals around the world.
We partner with entertainment industry clients to design and conduct custom research projects, such as content analyses of programming and audience impact studies. We also present our theoretical model and research findings at professional and entertainment industry venues worldwide. To inquire about a potential project, or about availability for a speaking opportunity, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We partner with CDC to track trends in media use habits and health behavior by including items in nationally representative market research surveys such as the Porter Novelli HealthStyles survey.
- Escobedo, P., Rosenthal, E.L., Saucier, C.J., Unger, J.B., Boley Cruz, N.T., Kirkpatrick, M., & Allem, J.P. (2020). E-cigarette product placement and imagery in popular music videos. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, ntaa273, https://doi.org/10.1093/ntr/ntaa273
- Hoffman, B.L., Cafferty, L.A., Jain, P., Shensa, A., Rosenthal, E.L., Primack, B.A., & Sidani, J.E. (2020). Patient-centered Communication Behaviors on Primetime Television. Journal of Health Communication, 25(2), 170-179, DOI: 10.1080/10810730.2020.1723040
- Phillips, Z., Huang, G.C., Beck, V., & Pollard, W.E. TV Drama/Comedy Viewers and Health Information: 2005 Porter Novelli HealthStyles Survey. A CDC Report.
- Beck, V., Huang, G.C., Pollard, W.E., & Johnson, T.J. (2003). 2002 Healthstyles Survey: Telenovela Viewers and Health Information. A CDC Report.
- Beck, V., Huang, G.C., Pollard, W.E., & Johnson, T.J. (2003). 2001 Healthstyles Survey: TV Drama Viewers and Health Information. A CDC Report.
- Beck, V., & Pollard, W.E. (2001). 2000 Healthstyles Survey: Prime Time Viewers and Health Information. A CDC Report.
- Pollard, W.E., & Beck, V. (2000). 1999 Healthstyles Survey: Soap Opera Viewers and Health Information. A CDC Report.