The 38-Percent Solution: Empirical Generalizations for Repeat Viewing of Television Programs

Peter J. Danaher and Tracey S. Dagger

Monash University

Management slant

  • After a time-slot change, television program repeat-viewing levels rapidly return to the same level as before the change.
  • While programs lose some loyal viewers they also gain about the same number of new loyal viewers in their new time slot.
  • Repeat-time viewing (time-slot loyalty) is 53%, which is constant across programming changes.
  • The channel share for a program is the same before and after it is rescheduled, except for light entertainment shows, such as comedies, which have slightly lower channel share after moving.


Going hand-in-hand with the importance of empirical generalizations about advertising is the need to gather empirical generalizations about the media in which advertising is consumed (Goodhardt, Ehrenberg, and Collins, 1987). Several studies have shown that the amount of attention paid to television programs influences the recall of advertisements (e.g., Tavassoli, Shultz, and Fitzsimons, 1995). Others have demonstrated that program likeability transfers to advertising recall (Walker and Dubritsky, 1994). The phenomenon of higher advertising effectiveness in television programming that has higher viewer involvement has been referred to as the “positive-effects hypothesis” (Lloyd and Clancy, 1991).