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I'm not sure what you could call it. Nearly every channel has promotional adverts, to let you know who provides what you're watching. That's not quite what I'm thinking of. The best example I ever noticed was a hypnotic sequence of intensely seductive sounds and images - flash flash flash - on Spike TV, all that could arouse the audience. The room went silent as everyone was watching. Gunshots against a metal panel, spent shells falling to the floor, a woman's skin sliding past the camera. I wish I could find it again. This was back in the autumn 2010. It was genius in the way of the material, metal, power, sex, and the possibilities of the body. I don't think it was advertising a product at all. It was one of those little intermediate sequences that appear between commercials sometimes. I consider them like addictive additives that subliminally enrapture people to the channel. Viewers crave the feeling and return unwittingly for the fix.

Does anyone know of any research into these?

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This is called a "bumper". Beyond that, I don't really get what you are asking for, but this is the answer to the question in your title.

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Interstitial is the name for it. Spike TV has a target audience of "dudes" into sex, partying, violence, rock, crime, sports, etc. Them creating ads filled with sex, partying, violence, rock, crime, sports, etc is only natural. It's a channel with a frat-boy mentality. They want people to not change the channel so they keep those elements in their commercials. It's very simple. Find a market, fill it.

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