Audience flow past and present: Television inheritance effects reconsidered

James G. Webster*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Television inheritance effects, inordinately high levels of audience duplication between programs scheduled back-to-back, have helped broadcasters manage audience flow for decades. This study uses 2004 national peoplemeter data collected by Nielsen to replicate a study of inheritance effects done 20 years earlier. It finds the same predictors explain either 96% or 58% of variance in the duplicated audience, depending upon the measure of duplication that is used. The research resolves discrepancies in the literature on inheritance effects and casts serious doubt on the common practice of inferring audience duplication from the strength of correlations between lead-in and lead-out program ratings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-337
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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