Why Our Television Habits Don’t Make Sense

September 14, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

The Economist looked at how irrational our television watching habits can be:

  • Changing the channel at the end of a show requires minimal effort – all you have to do is press a button.
  • Yet according to one study if you’re watching a channel then you’re likely to stay on that channel, even after the show you like ends, and there are better alternatives available.
  • TV executives seem to know this. England’s public broadcaster, the BBC would air light and entertaining programs before some of its heavier cultural pieces to force culture on the British.
  • Some potential explanations for this behaviour include:
    • Channels advertize their own shows on their own network. So if you sit to watch one program you’re lured into watching more.
    • There are now so many channels that it’s difficult to choose which one to switch to. So viewers just stay on the channel that they’re on.
    • Procrastination: the same reason we never really cancel our gym memberships.

Read more about the methodology of the study, what this would mean for Berlusconi and other Italian media barons, and how Rupert Murdoch feels about it over here.

Source: The Economist