How Promotional Content Changes Ratings: The Impact of Appeals, Humor, and Presentation

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This study assessed the impact of content--as opposed to structural--factors on television program ratings, seeking to locate clusters of components that would identify effective on-air promotion and allocate content a better-defined place within theoretic models of media priming. Stepwise multiple regression analyses of 1,547 on-air promos for 155 prime-time programs demonstrated that 5-9% of ratings variance was accounted for by content appeals, humor, and presentation in promos for comedy programs. The influence of content variables was greater for familiar than unfamiliar comedies, and humor and presentation in promos contributed to variance in ratings for mid-rated but not high- or low-rated comedies.

Keywords: Comedy promotion; content appeals; humor; priming; program promotion; ratings

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 2003

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