DVR – Blessing or a Curse

The DVR has made its way into homes across America. Four out of every ten households own at least one DVR (Nielsen). For television advertisers this is a blessing and a curse. The DVR is helping the networks retain viewers by allowing them the flexibility to watch a show at any time they wish. Without this flexibility viewers would turn to other mediums, such as the Internet or Netflix, to watch their favorite shows. However, on the flip side the DVR allows viewers to fast-forward through content they do not wish to watch, which mainly means commercials. However, Nielsen recently released data showing that DVR households do in fact watch commercials. Playbacks lift commercial ratings by 44% among 18-49 year-olds; this has remained consistent for the last several years (Nielsen). The research also shows that the longer a DVR is owned the more accustomed viewers become to its features and the more time they watch only programs that are recorded (Nielsen). The top five most frequently recorded genres are science fiction, situation comedy, general drama, reality and evening animation (Nielsen). Sports and news are not surprisingly at the bottom of the list due to the content being timely. The DVR has led to many changes in the television buying realm. The Nielsen books are now released with DVR data and a buyer has the option to include the recorded viewers in their numbers.

I am among the 18-49 age group that has a DVR. I have 3 DVR’s in my household and we use them with regularity. The only programs that I watch live are Sports and the News. I cannot imagine watching television live and I know that I would have a very hard time following my favorite shows due to our busy schedule. Do you use a DVR? Do you watch anything live, and if so what types of programs? And the all important question for advertisers, do you remember the commercials even if you fast-forward?

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