Monday, January 03, 2011

DVRs and Commercials

Recent news reports described research findings by Nielsen regarding consumer habits with regard to DVRs. Nielsen found that approximately 50% of people age 18-49 watch commercials even when they have recorded a show on DVR. Nielsen also found that homes with DVRs watched more primetime programming than those without DVRs. The Nielsen report concludes, “Contrary to fears that DVRs would wipe out the value of commercials because of viewers fast-forwarding through ads, DVRs actually contribute significantly to commercial viewing."

Well, the news reports that I read seemed to stress a "glass half full" interpretation of these findings, as described above. The conclusion seemed to be, "We thought that DVRs would be the end of TV ads, and they aren't completely. Isn't that great?" Another interpretation, of course, could be that 50% of folks aged 18-49 aren't watching those ads, and that is a HUGE number in my view. The report also found that many people are watching shows on DVR on the same day that the show originally aired. To me, that suggests that some people may be watching shows on slight delay purposefully to avoid the ads. Finally, we all know that some people let commercials run while using their DVR because they are stepping out of the room for a moment anyway, or otherwise multi-tasking. So, are they really watching those ads?

Bottom line: I wouldn't read this report with rose-colored glasses.

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