The Digital Video Recorder a threat to television advertising


January 20, 2004

The era of the digital video recorder is looming large as new research studies emerging from the US indicate that 15% of all Internet households have connected their computers to a TV or stereo, that DVR users spend 60% of their TV time watching recorded programs and that when watching recorded programs, they skip 92% of commercials.

A new study by Parks Associates entitled Digital Media Adapters and Receivers: Analysis and Forecasts, reported that over 15% of all Internet households in the U.S. have a stereo or TV connected to their home computer.

Further, 75% of households with these PC/CE connections play music on their PC through a stereo and over 40% have viewed digital photos on their TV.

"Music and imaging applications are much more important than video to these consumers," said John Barrett, director of research for Parks Associates.

"People don't need a computer to watch video on their TV. However, they do need a computer if they want to view digital photos on their TV."

"Home networks now offer more value than just sharing printers and Internet access, and consumers are starting to realize these benefits."

Similarly, a new research report from Forrester Research,

involes detailed analysis of digital video recorder (DVR) users. The research shows that DVR users report spending nearly 60% of their TV time watching recorded or delayed programs in which they skip 92% of commercials. As a result, the average DVR user sees only 46% of the ads in the programs he watches.

Even accounting for the low level of attention ordinary viewers pay to ads, Forrester estimates that DVRs reduce ad attention by an additional 40%.

Ad skipping is uneven - DVR viewers watch more of movie ads, funny ads, and ads in news and sports programs, for example. TiVo users and young women miss more commercials than other DVR users.

With DVR adoption growing rapidly, networks and advertisers need to face the music: Put more ad-hooks into programming, place ad messages within movie trailers and network promos, and develop visual elements that persist despite the fast-forward button.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, (Australia's largest Telco), (Australia's largest employment site),,, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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