Assimilation or Contrast? Evaluation of New Shows in Lead-In-Lead-Out Scheduling

Jack C. Li, Jaemin Jung


The basis of this study was an experiment conducted, incorporating lead-in and lead-out scheduling techniques, to explore the impact of context effects on the evaluation of a new show. Results indicate that contrast effect or assimilation effect occurred, dependent on whether the show adjacent to the show targeted for evaluation was of the same or a different genre. That is, viewers tended to evaluate the target program more favorably when they watched it in conjunction with a program of a different genre (i.e., assimilation occurs). Conversely, audiences gave a lower evaluation to the target show when the adjacent program was of the same genre (i.e., contrast occurs). This pattern of context effects occurred regardless of whether viewers watched the target show prior to (i.e., lead-out), or after (i.e., lead-in), the context show. This study also found that the assimilation effect was greater in the lead-out and different-genre condition, and contrast effect was enhanced in the lead-in and same-genre condition. Implications concerning context effects on scheduling strategies for the introduction of a new series are presented.


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International Journal on Media Management 
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