Television Networks Say DVRs Raise Viewership and Would Jesus Skip Ads?

eHomeUpgrade | Television Networks Say DVRs Raise Viewership Ha! I almost spit my coffee all over my keyboard when I read this one.

According to Reuters, the major six networks have released a report trying to calm concerns over DVR usage.

“Far from being the TV doomsday machines that some have predicted, digital video recorders that allow viewers to skip advertising and watch shows at their leisure will actually boost television audiences, the major networks said on Wednesday.”

“While 90 percent of viewers surveyed said they skipped all or most commercials when they watched a show played back on DVR, the networks’ research showed 58 percent paid attention to the commercials in a fast-forward mode and 53 percent have gone back to watch an ad that interested them, the networks said.”

It is totally laughable to me to see the TV networks trying to put a positive spin on DVR usage. This obvious marketing spin is a blatant attempt to allay the concerns of their advertisers — who quite frankly should in fact be very concerned.

While certainly a case can be made for live sports and some extremely hot shows like Desperate Housewives, where people will not time shift them, in general DVR usage is pure poison to the television industry. Rather than adopt and move to a VOD model though, they will drag their heels still for many years while they continue to try and BS Madison Ave. on why they should in fact pay more for ads that people skip.

What’s next, a study from Ford and GM that SUVs don’t cause air pollution?

Even more over the top than the Reuters article though is this other laughable quote over at MSNBC (get it, NBC) by Alan Wurtzel, head of research at NBC. He also noted that 80 per cent of viewers preferred to watch television programmes live. “Most people want to watch TV the way God intended – they want to watch it live,” he said. The way “God intended?” You have got to be kidding me. So I guess the next time I’m sitting there just about ready to fast forward that commercial on my TiVo, I’d better stop and ask myself, “what would Jesus do?”

Somehow I’m not sure that “God” intended me to watch TV at all and if he did I can’t imagine he’d be opposed to my skipping commercials. This quote is unbelievable really.

This latest study and these comments make me think back to the last time Hollywood came up with their ludacrious spin campaign that ad skipping was “stealing.”

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  1. Eddie says:

    Although I certainly agree with the bulk of this- I just want to go on record as saying that I do FF through commercials, bust still pay somewhat attention to them. I have been known to stop and go back to something of interest. Of course, i still have my replayTV model 5040 with automatic commercial skip. I was VERY happy with that. I guess, out of site out of mind. (which is the whole argument)

  2. Steve says:

    As a TiVo owner for years, I’m not surprised by the reports results. When fast-forwarding through commercials, I jump back to look at ones that appear interesting all of the time. And, there was already a report that showed that viewers fast-forwarding through commercials had much better product recall than those who sat through commercials, because fast-forwarders were concentrating on the screen images looking for the start of the program.

    And who hasn’t gotten the “I can’t get a TiVo, I’d be watching TV all the time” response when explaining a TiVo to a non-DVR owner? And it’s true, to a certain extent; people watch shows they may not have had time for otherwise, shows they had wanted to check out, older shows that they want to see re-runs of; and when they watch they really watch the TV, instead of just having it on in the background.

    Now, after a certain period, when the DVR has been integrated into daily life, and the initial euphoria has worn off, viewing habits may get more targeted. But even then, as long as there is enough good content to TiVo, why would viewing habits decrease, why wouldn’t they expand to fit whatever interesting content is available? There’s a reason why the long tail is the long tail.

    I don’t know where the dig at VOD resistance came from, it sounds like someone is upset that they can’t have their own little media paradise. VOD isn’t going to be a front-line service from networks until it can have the reach and reliability of broadcast; which, unfortunately, is still years away.

    Now, that statement about how live TV is the way “God intended” is propaganda, even a tech neophyte could tell you that. Although, my girlfriend and her girl group that get together to watch Survivor and Apprentice live every Thursday would probably disagree.