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Indeterminacy and live television

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Why would consumers prefer live television, even when tape-delayed broadcasts provide the same sensory experience? The authors propose that indeterminacy is a key reason. Indeterminate consumption experiences (such as watching sports competitions live on television) unfold in ways that are not decided ex ante. This makes them more exciting than, and preferred to, equivalent determinate experiences (such as watching recorded broadcasts of the same competitions) that can only unfold the way the featured events were decided before they are broadcast. They offer empirical evidence for this proposition-independently of other differences between live and taped broadcasts, the indeterminacy of events made watching them live more exciting and correspondingly preferable. They conclude by discussing implications of the indeterminacy concept for consumer research.

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