The word “dog” was mentioned seven times more than the word “cat” on British television. Surprisingly both cats and dogs were mentioned far more often than climate change on British television programmes according to a study. Deloitte analysed the subtitles of 128,719 programs. The excluded news but covered 40 channels based on data supplied by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and sky between September 2017 and September 2018.
Dogs were mentioned 105,245 times. Cats were mentioned 14,454 times and climate change was mentioned 3,125 times. A selection of the words mentioned from this analysis is published below.
What does this say about climate change, cats and dogs? Each person will have their own viewpoint on this but it seems to me that a lot of people don’t believe in climate change and that includes people who work in television in the UK. In addition, although they may believe in climate change they don’t understand the issues and therefore are unable to present them because experts disagree over it.
A third possibility is that people working in television generally believe in climate change but as they don’t see it and feel it and as it does not affect them individually they simply de-prioritise it. A fourth possibility is that they believe that their customers are not interested in it perhaps for the same reason.
As for cats and dogs, it’s clear that programme makers favour dogs by a factor of seven which appears to clash with the situation on the Internet where it could be argued that cats and dogs are about evenly represented.
Dogs are at the top end of British TV mentions while cats are placed below cheese, coffee, cake and tea in terms of the number of times that the words are mentioned. It appears that television programme makers prefer to make programmes about dogs because they can do more with dogs as they are trainable and obedient (my guess). They are less aloof and more pliable (as perceived by some people). They perhaps believe that dogs are more connected to people because they are more dependent upon people in terms of their emotional needs because they are pack animals as opposed to domestic cat which are not.
But the real panic is that climate change is being almost ignored which is why humans continue to create climate change and why there is a distinct lack of urgency in dealing with it.
These are my top of the head feelings about the results which may interest some people.
The research was commissioned by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) and TV sustainability project Albert.
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“To help shape society’s response to climate change we cannot rely solely on the current affairs and natural history programmes, we must think creatively and look for other ways to bring sustainability messages to our screens that are both optimistic and inspirational…..” – Aaron Matthews, head of industry sustainability at Albert