Barker, A. B., smith, J., Hunter, A., Britton, J., & Murray, R. L. (2019). Quantifying tobacco and alcohol imagery in Netflix and Amazon Prime instant video original programming accessed from the UK: a content analysis. BMJ Open, 9, 1.5. Doi: 10.1136/ bmjopen-2018-025807. 

Given that exposure to tobacco and alcohol content in audio-visual media is a risk factor for smoking and alcohol use in young people and such content is abundantly present in films and broadcast television, the objective of the study was that of conducting a content analysis on video-on-demand- (VOD) services. Specifically, this study compares the Dutch Netflix and Amazon Prime content with earlier findings of UK prime-time television content.

The researcher analyzed 50 episodes from the five highest rated series on both Netflix and Amazon Prime in 2016, resulting in finding tobacco appearing in 353 (13%) from 37 (745) episodes. Alcohol content appeared in 363 (13%) intervals in 47 (94%) episodes.

Comparison with earlier content analysis of UK broadcast television however shows that the proportion of episodes containing tobacco and alcohol was significantly higher in VOD service.

They conclude that audio-visual tobacco and alcohol content is common in VOD original programs and represents a further source of exposure to imagery causing smoking uptake and alcohol use in young people. This appears to be equally true of services regulated in the UK and The Netherlands. Given that VOD services are consumed by a global audience, it appears likely that VOD content is an important global driver of tobacco and alcohol consumption.


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