DVR, Broadband Users Take Control

Oct 28, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Consumers with digital video recorders now watch about the same amount of television on their DVRs as they do in real time. That’s the finding of a recent Marquest Media & Entertainment Research study of homes with advanced services.
Marquest surveyed homes with either broadband, digital cable or DVRs. Those consumers are very quickly migrating to time-shifted and on-demand viewing, said Paul Rule, president of Marquest. In fact, in just one year, real-time consumption of TV has dropped significantly. Consumers in homes with advanced services are watching only 55 percent of their television on linear networks in real time now, down from 63 percent in 2006.
In homes with DVRs, the shift is more pronounced. Linear viewing in those homes dropped to 36 percent this year, down from 45 percent of TV watching in 2006. This was matched by a gain in time spent watching recorded TV. Homes with DVRs are watching 32 percent of their television on DVRs now, up from 28 percent a year ago.
Advertisers can’t afford to discount the sharpness of the shift in viewing behavior, Mr. Rule said. “Everyone with content to sell or distribute or goods to advertise has to realize that this trend is going only one way—away from the traditional ways that consumers used media. They’re voting with their technology purchases and remote control,” he said.
“They’re saying, ‘I want what I want when I want it,’” he continued. “If you’re a network scheduler and think you can knock off an opponent by scheduling opposite him, forget it. If I want to see both shows, I’ll DVR yours and watch it next weekend. I don’t care how much it screws up your advertisers’ media plans.”
DVRs and VOD are responsible for most of the loss in real-time viewing, but Internet video viewing also is starting to impact linear TV watching. However, little change was seen for rented or purchased DVDs and cassettes or for DVR downloads from satellite services.
The impact of the DVR shift was greatest among adults 18 to 34, as this group showed a decline in real-time watching to 42 percent this year, down from 55 percent last year. Adult women’s viewing habits shifted away from traditional TV, too, to 55 percent this year from 65 percent last year.
These changes will wreak havoc on network schedules, Mr. Rule said. “Forget linear viewing. The ‘pattern’ that’s emerging is more like what happens when you hit a shuffle button. The players that succeed in this new-media world will see as opportunities what others think are headaches. They’ll learn how to grab audiences on the fly and accumulate exposures to content and advertising among precisely defined target consumers whenever and wherever it’s necessary.”
The study also asked consumers which on-demand genres are most interesting to them. Adults 18 and older listed their VOD preferences as recent mainstream films, movies from the ’90s, recent episodes of TV shows, crime and police dramas, and movies from the 1970s and ’80s.
Among specific networks, the study found HBO ranked first among people 12 and older in on-demand desirability of content, followed by Discovery and then ABC.


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