253809 Turning Teen Pregnancy into Teen Pregnancy Prevention

Monday, October 31, 2011: 8:30 AM

Jason Rzepka , Public Affairs, MTV Networks, New York, NY
Kaiser Family Foundation research* shows that 8-18 year olds spend almost twice as much time consuming TV content (4.5 hours per day) than the next closest form of media (music: 2.5 hours per day). Further, a recent Isis study** – funded by the Ford Foundation – stated that: “Many respondents cited the impact that TV had on educating them about sex and reproductive health. In particular, many cited two shows, 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom, as positive influences…Many found 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom to be realistic depictions of teenage parenthood, highlighting the financial, emotional, and physical difficulties the moms (and to a lesser extent, the dads) experienced.” These findings are supported by polling from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, which has shown that: • 90% of teenagers who have seen an episode of 16&Pregnant think teen pregnancy is harder than they imagined before watching the series*** • 82% of teenagers who've watched 16 & Pregnant say the show helped them understand the challenges of pregnancy and how to avoid it****

Additionally, the CDC reported last December that the national teen birth rate has hit a 70 year low, and it presently stands at the lowest level in recorded history. Add all this up and it makes a pretty compelling case for the potential of “issue-based product placement” to make a real impact.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
List the key steps and best practices for integrating positive social issue messages into an entertainment-based TV show.

Keywords: Public/Private Partnerships, Communication

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I oversee all of MTV's efforts to integrate social and health messages into entertainment programming.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.