LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – A new study concludes that viewers find TV more pleasurable when they watch commercials.
Researchers at the NYU Stern School of Business found that viewers say they prefer to avoid advertisements yet rated their overall experience of watching a TV show higher when commercials were included.
The seemingly counterintuitive findings will be familiar to those who have read Daniel Gilbert’s “Stumbling on Happiness,” which explains how the pleasure of any positive experience declines through repetition and over time. Watching TV (or eating a fine meal or listening to a favorite song) tends to be more enjoyable at the outset. The longer you do something, the less satisfaction it provides.
A break from the experience — in the case of watching TV, sitting through a few commercials — can be an interruption that helps refresh the novelty of the program.
“People often adapt to the experience of watching television such that each successive minute is slightly less enjoyable than the previous one,” said the report’s authors, who performed six studies testing aspects of the theory and said their funding was entirely supplied by NYU Stern. “Advertisements, although independently aversive, disrupt this adaptation process and can therefore make the overall experience more enjoyable.”
Paid for by everyone who advertises? I know that with Lost, we have it recording and start it about 20 minutes late in order to watch it with no commercials – cutting away wrecks the flow! We almost never watch live TV anymore. It’s either recorded or downloaded from iTunes.
How do you prefer to watch your TV?