Life cycle of television public service announcements disseminated through donated airtime

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Objective: To investigate the longevity and reach of television public service announcements (PSAs) developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Screen for Life: National Colorectal Cancer Action Campaign. Methods: Television airtime donated to Screen for Life PSAs was tracked, and the impressions (a broadcasting metric for audience size) generated by PSAs in circulation ≥. 5. years were analyzed in 2014. The sample consisted of 8 PSAs, including English and Spanish PSAs, PSAs featuring celebrities, and PSAs redistributed multiple times after their initial release. Results: During the most recent year of circulation (5-9. years after initial release), each PSA generated 15.7 million to 251.7 million impressions. Peak annual impressions were achieved as late as 9. years after a PSA's initial release. When PSAs were redistributed 2. years or longer after the prior distribution, annual impressions increased over the preceding year by >. 20 million in 80.0% of instances. Among English PSAs, those featuring celebrities produced the highest mean and peak annual impressions. Conclusions: Donated-placement television PSAs can be a long-lived health promotion strategy. Redistribution may enhance PSA longevity, and featuring celebrities, particularly in English PSAs, may expand reach.




Cooper, C. P., Gelb, C. A., & Chu, J. (2015). Life cycle of television public service announcements disseminated through donated airtime. Preventive Medicine Reports, 2, 202–205.

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