Today’s reality, tomorrow’s myth…?

August 13, 2008

So we all know that PVRs/DVRs (TiVo, Sky+) owners watch less TV. In fact this has been the main theme of one of the most heated debate in the US TV industry in the past week- Cable Vision’s network DVRs and how they would lead to mass errosion of ads viewership. (For more details on this, please click on:

But guess what, in a recent UK based research it showed that PVR/DVR owners watch 5% more advertising. According to the research, the increased TV viewing offsets the potential to fast-forward through the commercials. I wonder if it is today’s reality confronting yesterday’s myth, or a myth in the making itself.

I think some of this can be attributed to the UK’s commercial environment in media. There is a regulation on the amount of advertising that can be shown per hour, and the “irritation” or “fatigue” levels of TV ads are generally lower in the UK. This is compared to the markets like the US where during a live-broadcast of a major sporting event, they stop play to give time to the insane clutter of advertising to be shown to the consumers. If I were them, sitting pretty without the knowledge of how long a damn commercial break is going to be, I would skip ads… wouldn’t you?

Another interesting insight from the same study is that the likes of IPlayer, C4OD, or have not eroded the traditional TV viewership. The web-based viewing actually leads to more time being spent infront of the traditional TV. The overall audiences have actually increased by 4% over the same period last year.

Now we all know that increase in supply of content leads to a very limited the increase in advertising revenues- that only very initially. The real increase is only tied to delivery of audiences. Ultimately the increased content leads to fragmentation of advertising revenue into showing of ever more number of commercials. According to this study, a total of 2.4 billion commercials are shown every day, or a massive potential of commercial vieweing of 42 per person!

Happy planning your TV! If I were you, I would invest in high potential and growing area of web-based TV viewing (mind you that is almost on the traditional TV screens now with Wii’s Iplayer, and XBox 360’s BT Vision), while being careful about not losing audiences through the good old idiot box.

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