Commercials Increase Enjoyment Of TV Shows?
from the alternative-explanations dept
In a study that the television industry must absolutely love, researchers apparently found that people enjoyed a sitcom with commercials included by a significant margin over watching the same show without the commercials. Of course, before jumping to conclusions about such a study, it’s worth thinking about alternative explanations other than the idea that people really like commercials. In the Freakonomics post above, they posit that sitcoms are written with these breaks in mind — and the story arc reflects that. Taking the commercials out could make the show feel slightly disjointed. I know I’ve sometimes felt that way when watching DVDs of TV shows. In fact, I would imagine that a similar study comparing movies shown without commercials and those with commercials abruptly inserted might return the opposite results — with the version with commercials greatly disliked compared to the movie without.
Another potential explanation could just be the way we view watching sitcoms — where we’ve been somewhat conditioned for those regular breaks. We’re used to them, and being able to do something during them (go to the bathroom, get a snack, talk to a significant other/kids/parents), and taking them out so that the entire show goes straight messes with our own expectations. If that latter idea is correct, then it would suggest that having people watch a show where they could fast forward via DVR through the commercials should still be quite enjoyable, because they still get the break and still can do those “other” things during the breaks rather than actually watching the commercials. In other words, it may be that people like the breaks, not the commercials.