Life cycle of television public service announcements disseminated through donated airtime
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Life cycle of television public service announcements disseminated through donated airtime

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  • Alternative Title:
    Prev Med Rep
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  • Description:

    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.

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