Video viewing behaviour and attitudes towards explicit material: A preliminary investigation


This report discusses the findings of a study on video viewing behaviour and attitudes towards explicit material in video movies. Intended as a preliminary investigation, its findings are limited in the extent to which they can be generalised beyond the sample. However, the study does provide some valuable data and it does raise a number of issues which have direct policy relevance.

A questionnaire was sent to a sample of video hirers in Canberra and the surrounding district. One hundred and seventy five people returned completed questionnaires allowing comparisons to be made between different groups of video viewers.

Prior to 1984, there was no legislation in Australia to regulate effectively the selling and hiring of pre-recorded video cassettes. This, together with the fact that video movies are viewed in the privacy of the home, meant that there was little control over who could watch videos and little control over the types of videos they could watch. On 1 February 1984, the ACT Classification of Publications Ordinance 1983 came into force. Under this legislation video cassettes could be classified into one of five categories, 'G', 'PG', 'M', 'R' or 'X'. Point of sale controls were applied to prevent access by persons under the age of 18 to the more explicit materials in the R and X categories.


A joint project by the Australian Institute of Criminology and the Attorney-General's Department.