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Enhancing the Television‐Viewing Experience through Commercial Interruptions

Leif D. Nelson, Tom Meyvis and Jeff Galak
Journal of Consumer Research
Vol. 36, No. 2 (August 2009), pp. 160-172
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.1086/597030
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/597030
Page Count: 13
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Enhancing the Television‐Viewing Experience through Commercial Interruptions
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Abstract

Consumers prefer to watch television programs without commercials. Yet, in spite of most consumers’ extensive experience with watching television, we propose that commercial interruptions can actually improve the television‐viewing experience. Although consumers do not foresee it, their enjoyment diminishes over time. Commercial interruptions can disrupt this adaptation process and restore the intensity of consumers’ enjoyment. Six studies demonstrate that, although people preferred to avoid commercial interruptions, these interruptions actually made programs more enjoyable (study 1), regardless of the quality of the commercial (study 2), even when controlling for the mere presence of the ads (study 3), and regardless of the nature of the interruption (study 4). However, this effect was eliminated for people who are less likely to adapt (study 5) and for programs that do not lead to adaptation (study 6), confirming the disruption of adaptation account and identifying crucial boundaries of the effect.

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