TV Monitoring Project
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.
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.