Poll: Condoms a fit in late prime time

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New research sponsored by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation shows that a majority of Americans - 71% - think condom advertising on television is o.k.

But 25% say they're against it, largely because they think TV is over-sexualized generally, said Vicky Rideout, a vice president with the Foundation. And almost half of those who said they're in favor of such advertising on TV, would restrict it to certain time periods (no earlier than 10 p.m.). Slightly more than half said such ads should be allowed to air any time.

The Foundation also conducted a "dial test," similar to tests used by the networks to test new shows, to gauge the reaction of TV viewers to condom ads placed within commercial pods to a TV show. That test showed that viewers didn't perceive the condom ads any more or less negatively or positively than other ads surrounding it, Foundation executives said.

The Foundation, which promotes public awareness of family health issues, hopes the new research will help convince the broadcast networks that condom advertising is not as controversial as they think and that they will consider airing more of it.

But the WB's Rick Mater said he thinks its more effective to deal with safe sex issues in program story lines. Paid condom ads will offend both affiliates and viewers, the network fears. Three of the networks refuse all paid condom advertising - The WB, ABC and UPN. CBS, NBC and Fox accept condom ads, but maintain restrictions on time period and content.

An ABC spokesperson said: "We can't comment on a study that we have not had an opportunity to review, but ABC does accept public service announcements that deal with condom use and health related issues." - Steve McClellan

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