London / New York | Published on: March 19, 2014
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Viacom International Media Networks unveils research on the power of laughter
Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN), a division of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIAB, VIA), today released new findings from its ongoing research into the benefits of humorous and comedic content through its latest study, “Power of Laughter.”

LONDON / NEW YORK: 19 March 2014 - Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN), a division of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIAB, VIA), today released new findings from its ongoing research into the benefits of humorous and comedic content through its latest study, Power of Laughter.”

The international perspective covered 12 countries* with more than 3,500 respondents to explore the impact of laughter on people’s well-being and test engagement levels. In addition, more than 12 million individual emotional measurements were made through GfK EMO Scan, a facial scanner that decodes our subjects’ emotional response to visual stimulus by tracking intricate facial movements.

Of the study, Christian Kurz, Vice President of Research, Insights & Reporting for VIMN, said: “The ‘Power of Laughter’ study was a multi-layered, multi-territory look at just how beneficial laughter can be, as well as how much more engaged audiences are when watching funny or humorous content. We confirmed that laughter truly is life’s best medicine for the mind, body and soul, and that comedy boosts levels of engagement in a positive way.”

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Notes to Editors: Power of Laughter: Key Findings

Laughter leads to happier, healthier, more sexually active lives and helps people maintain physical, emotional and social balance.

Physical benefits:

63% of “heavy laughers” describe their weight as “target weight.”

Heavy laughers are also more likely to exercise compared to occasional laughers.

Emotional benefits

Heavy laughers are 30% more likely to have a positive outlook on life.

37% of heavy laughers say watching a funny TV show improves their mood.

68% of heavy laughers are satisfied with their job.

Heavy laughers are optimistic with 72% excited about their job.

Social benefits

Heavy laughers have 50 more friends than light laughers (that’s a 23% uplift).

Heavy laughers are 32% more likely to describe their sex life as good / just right.

Audiences viewing funny/humorous content are more engaged.

We explored the impact of laughter with moment-to-moment analyses in an in-home setting with respondents around the world.

We presented our audience with comedy content running into commercial breaks and compared this to factual programming, allowing us to accurately gauge how engagement differs.

We measured the laughter with online facial coding, tracking facial expressions through a webcam unobtrusively at a rate of 10 times per second – which meant we registered more than 12 million emotional touchpoints.

We could see the immediate impact of laughter. We now understand how comedy boosts high levels of emotional engagement not only with the content but also into the commercials.

Emotion in ads communicates faster and makes people more open to receive the message. In the longer term, people are better able to remember the positive emotion and experiences, compared to a strictly factual message.

Commercials embedded in a funny environment work better. There is a halo effect, working through further into the ad break.

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For more insights from Viacom International Media Networks, please visit

*Countries:MX, ZA, SG, RU, SE, IT, ES, PL, DE, NL, FR and UK. The project was carried out in two phases as follows:

Phase 1: 10 minute online interview on attitudes to life and the role of laughter.1,350 respondents across 12 countries (UK, FR, DE, PL, SE, IT, ES, NL, RU, MX, ZA, SG)

Phase 2: = 25 minute online interview to measure response to programming content and commercial block. 2,250 respondents in 9 countries (UK, DE, PL, IT, ES, NL, RU, MX, SG).

About Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN)

Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN), a unit of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIAB, VIA), is comprised of many of the world’s most popular multimedia entertainment brands, including MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET, Paramount Channel, VH1, VIVA, COLORS, Game One and Tr3s: MTV, Música y Más. Viacom brands are seen globally in more than 600 million households in 170 territories and 37 languages via more than 200 locally programmed and operated TV channels and more than 550 digital media and mobile TV properties. For more information about Viacom and its businesses, visit Keep up with Viacom news by following Viacom’s blog at and Twitter feed at

About GfK EMO Scan

GfK EMO Scan is an award-winning system for analysing emotional response, delivered by global market research agency, GfK. It ensures a uniquely low involvement viewing experience by gaining consumers’ permission to use their own webcams to track their facial movement in real time as they view advertising. GfK EMO Scan won the 2012 Innovation Prize from the BVM, the German association for market and social research. See a demonstration of EMO Scan here.