Title

Promoting Television Shows via Social Media: Applying Temporal Construals to Assess User-Generated and Marketer-Generated Content on Program Viewing Desirability and Feasibility

Date of Award

August 2017

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Media Studies

Advisor(s)

Frank Biocca

Keywords

marketer-generated content, promotion, social media, television viewing, temporal construal theory, user-generated content

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract

This research proposes an optimal timeline for a social media strategy for promoting a television show, based on temporal construal theory. Study 1 asked 400 participants to imagine their television viewing of the season premiere of a television show either in the distant future or in the near future, and describe the activity of watching the premiere. Two content analyses of the descriptions were conducted to examine 1) if people construe television viewing either at a high level (in a superordinate manner) or at a low level (in a subordinate manner), and 2) if people consider the desirability or feasibility of outcomes of television viewing when they intend to engage in television viewing in the distant future and in the near future. The descriptions were classified as follows: 1) superordinate description, subordinate description, neither, or both during the first analysis; and 2) desirability considerations, feasibility considerations, neither, or both during the second analysis. The first analysis found that high-level superordinate descriptions of television viewing were more common than low-level subordinate descriptions in the distant future condition. In contrast, low-level subordinate descriptions of television viewing were more common than high-level superordinate descriptions in the near future condition. The second analysis found that desirability considerations for television viewing were more common than feasibility considerations in the distant future condition. In contrast, feasibility considerations for television viewing were more common than desirability considerations in the near future condition. In Study 2, a considerations (desirability vs. feasibility of outcomes) x time (distant vs. near future) between-subject factorial design was used to examine the effects of 102 participants’ desirability considerations, prompted by the elements of user-generated content (UGC) in social media posts, and of their feasibility considerations, prompted by the elements of marketer-generated content (MGC) in social media posts, on their distant and near future intentions to watch the season premiere of a television show. These elements were found in the researcher’s previous study (Yang, 2017). The results of Study 2 show that participants’ viewing intentions were significantly higher when they read a tweet showing the desirability of watching the season premiere of a television show that was supposed to be aired in the distant future, and another tweet showing the feasibility of watching the premiere that was supposed to be aired in the near future, compared with when they read a tweet showing the feasibility of watching the premiere that was supposed to be aired in the distant future, and another tweet showing the desirability of watching the premiere that was supposed to be aired in the near future. This research also found a statistically significant interaction between the effects of the considerations and time on their intentions to watch the season premiere of a television show. These results suggest that television networks would do well to promote their shows with UGC that elicits desirability considerations 40 days before the airdate of the season premiere of the show. In contrast, networks would do well to promote their shows with MGC that elicits feasibility considerations a day before the airdate of the season premiere of the show.

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