TiVo’d From New York! It’s Saturday Night!

How to Value Ratings With DVR Delay? – New York Times The New York Times has an interesting piece out on the ratings metrics for TV viewing and how best to apply them to the growing army of DVR users.

“When the media landscape is fragmenting as never before, with broadcasters losing viewers to cable TV, the Internet and video games, every tenth of a ratings point — and the advertising revenue it potentially represents — matters.”

Fortunately I got on the TiVo bandwagon earlier on and haven’t really watched many commercials for years. I’m not sure how much of a gain advertisers really hope to get by measuring DVR usage, but the spin from the networks is that many people with DVRs actually watch the commercials (yep, just keep telling yourself that guys). Although in typical network executive double speak, they are also quick to remind us that God intended for us all to watch TV live and have gone so far as to suggest that by fast forwarding commercials we are stealing from them.

And now they want to make nice and measure what you watch on your DVR. Like a deer in the headlights, CBS’ chief research officer adds, “This is all coming at us fairly quickly, so measurement of these new devices has to come fairly quickly.”

Coming at us pretty quickly? What rock has this guy been hiding under for the past five years? Isn’t his job to kind of stay on top of things like this?

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  1. I gotta tell ya, while obviously I fast forward through the vast majority of commercials I have been known to actually stop and rewind if a commercial catches my eye and looks interesting while fast forwarding. You know that most of the Super Bowl commercials get watched not once but multiple times by TiVo owners.

    Most commercials are crap and are played so frequently it’s not funny (Yes I’m looking at you Ditech) but a few are actually interesting or even entertaining. Of course there are some that are SO bad that in the rare occasion where I’m watching live TV I’ll actually pause when I see the commercial start then sit and wait 30 seconds so I can fast forward through it and not have to be subjected to it.

  2. Thomas Hawk says:

    Yes, there will definitely still be some valuable advertising property on a DVR owner’s machines. Certainly live shows (especially sports) or super hot shows like Survior where people still watch live will be able to gain advertising traction.

    Also as you properly state, when commercials can in fact become entertainment in and of themselves (like the Superbowl) you will get people to watch. But these will be the exceptions.

    Of course watch as companies continue to push products from within the actually programming itself as a way to try and circumvent this. This should get more and more blatant, but if too blantant they run the risk of alienating viewers and losing them.