DVR Use Not Having Huge Impact on Ratings

January 2, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Broadcast & Cable | Media & Entertainment | Television

Despite the hubbub about DVR use, there’s hope for advertisers and time-sensitive ads, because viewers aren’t delaying the viewing of recorded programs, according to (pdf) a recent analysis of Nielsen data by Palisades MediaGroup.

On average, more than half of all DVR primetime program playback is done within the same day of recording – and by the end of the following day DVR owners complete approximately three-quarters of all program playback, Palisades said:

palisades-mediagroup-dvr-playback-timeline-via-nielsen.jpg

While DVR penetration appears to be growing at a rapid pace, its usage isn’t making a significant impact on ratings: “At least not yet,” said Susie Thomas, SVP, director of research and insights at Palisades MediaGroup. “Nielsen estimates DVR penetration to be at 20%, up from 12% in January of this year. While this is a good-sized increase, the impact on viewership remains minor.”

According to the study, ratings increase just over 15% due to DVR playback from live to live-plus-seven. The average rating against adults aged 18-49 was 2.5 for live viewing and 2.9 for live-plus-seven viewing; an increase of only 16.7%.

While fast-forwarding through the ads is still an issue, not all people who use a DVR fast-forward: The data show that less than half of people who watch a recorded program fast-forward through the ads during playback.

“Of course there are fluctuations when looking at the data program by program,” noted Thomas, “but overall DVR usage is not dramatically cutting into live viewing.”

Equally significant, the top 10 most-DVR’d primetime shows among adults 18-49 are played back as much as 58% on the same day (CBS’s Survivor: China) and as little as 27% (CW’s Reaper):

palisades-mediagroup-top-10-dvr-recorded-primetime-programs.jpg

The bottom line, according to Palisades: Advertisers with time-sensitive messages such as opening-weekend movie releases or special holiday sales offers need not fret over the DVR movement just yet; viewers are watching recorded programs shortly after they’ve been recorded – thus maintaining the timeliness of the advertising message.

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