Alcohol in TV Series Popular with Teens: A Content Analysis of TV Series in France 22 Years After a Restrictive Law
European citizens are the largest alcohol users in the world with an average of 11 l of alcohol per individual per year being used. This consumption practice usually begins during adolescence. Youths’ views of substances consumption are built upon socialization experiments from which television takes part. To prevent vulnerable people from media influence, some governments tend to adopt restrictive laws against alcohol marketing within the public space including TV programmes; others rely on the self-control of the alcohol and/or media industry. More than 22 years ago, France adopted a restrictive law made of measures aiming to regulate or prohibit advertising of alcoholic products, especially within media dedicated to minors.
This study relies on a content analysis to identify the patterns and the frequencies of occurrences linked to alcohol within a sample of 14 TV series (8 French series and 6 American series) most watched by French teenagers. In total, 180 episodes have been analysed representing 111 h 24 min and 6 s of series coded.
Alcohol is depicted within 87.8% of the sample. French series statistically show more events related to alcohol when compared to the American series. In French series, alcohol, mainly wine, is associated with a familiar lifestyle context with primary characters.
The restrictive law ongoing in France does not prevent popular TV programmes watched by minors to depict alcohol. Concerns should be raised about the impact of the values given to the substance integrated to main characters life within the media.