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Attracted but Unsatisfied: The Effects of Arousing Content on Television Consumption Choices

Luca Stanca (), Marco Gui and Marcello Gallucci

No 203, Working Papers from University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics

Abstract: This paper investigates experimentally the effects of arousing content on viewing choices and satisfaction in television consumption. We test the hypothesis that the portrayal of arousing content combines high attraction and low satisfaction and is thus responsible for suboptimal choices. In our experiment, subjects can choose among three programs during a viewing session. In the experimental condition, one of the three programs portrays a violent verbal conflict, whereas in the control condition the same program portrays a calm debate. A post-experimental questionnaire is used to assess subjects' satisfaction with the programs and the overall viewing experience. The results support the hypothesis: the presence of arousing content causes sub- jects to watch more of a given program, although they experience lower content-specific and overall satisfaction. Arousing contents also significantly increase the discrepancy between actual and desired viewing.

Keywords: Rational Choice; Audience; Television; Satisfaction; Arousing content; Laboratory Experiments. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D63 C78 C91 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-cis, nep-cul, nep-exp and nep-hap
Date: 2011-02, Revised 2011-02
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