Content analysis of Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video original films in the UK for alcohol, tobacco and junk food imagery

J Public Health (Oxf). 2021 Mar 2;fdab022. doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdab022. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Background: Exposure to alcohol, tobacco and high fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) food imagery is a significant risk factor for the uptake and regular use of these products in young people, and imagery are more frequently portrayed in video-on-demand (VOD) than in terrestrial television programmes. This study compared alcohol, tobacco and HFSS imagery in original films on Amazon Prime Instant Video and Netflix.

Methods: Content analysis of 11 original films released by Amazon Prime and Netflix in 2017 using 5-minute interval coding of alcohol, tobacco and HFSS content. Proportions of intervals containing alcohol, tobacco and HFSS imagery were compared between services using the chi-square test.

Results: Alcohol content appeared in 200 (41.7%) out of the total of 479 intervals coded, whereas tobacco and HFSS appeared in 129 (26.9%) and 169 (35.24%), respectively. Proportions were similar between Amazon Prime Instant Video and Netflix original films and were unrelated to film age classification.

Conclusions: Alcohol, tobacco and HFSS content likely to promote consumption among young people occurs frequently in original films shown by VOD services in the UK. Further studies are needed to investigate effective regulatory frameworks for VOD services to protect viewers from harmful or unwanted contents.