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DVRs Help Some TV Shows Improve Ratings

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the we've-only-been-telling-them-that-for-a-decade dept.

Television 297

ubermiester writes "After years of panicked lawsuits by content providers against TiVo and DVR technology in general, the NYTimes is reporting on yet another lesson for the content providers to learn and then immediately forget: 'Against almost every expectation, nearly half of all people watching delayed shows are still slouching on their couches watching messages about movies, cars, and beer. According to Nielsen, 46 percent of viewers 18 to 49 years old for all four networks taken together are watching the commercials during playback, up slightly from last year.' The article also notes viewership increases 'in the range of 7 to 12 percent, with some shows having increases of more than 20 percent when DVR ratings are added. The four networks together are averaging a 10 percent increase."

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see... (2, Funny)

Emesee (1155401) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953198)

things tend to workout after all.... things always aren't so bad.... so be of good cheer

That's because they need MythTV (5, Interesting)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953220)

Not only is it trivial to skip commercials for a shifted show, but it can do it automatically.

I have also adjusted my life to only watching what I have recorded. I'm not sure when the last time I turned on 'Live TV' was. I have taken to keeping the last/freshest five episodes from a number of programs I like to watch, and I select from between them. Myth automatically deletes the old ones, and I find five or so is plenty for my families needs.

That being said, even seeing a commercial these days just feels odd to me, let alone watching it.

Re:That's because they need MythTV (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29953334)

I second this. I switched from myth to a commercial DVR because there isn't a cheap/easy way to do encrypted HD using myth and the #1 thing I miss is the commercial autoskip....not so much because its a pain to FF but because its so inefficient...you always overshoot, etc. All the other features were nice but I don't notice the loss as much as the auto-skip feature.

Re:That's because they need MythTV (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953510)

Myth was never "cheap and easy". It's just not in that part of the PVR Pantheon.

You use it if you "want more" than a Tivo or the Time Warner device gives you.

That said, Cable HD is a lot easier on Myth than it used to be and it's worlds
better than on MCE (snicker). There's no reason to use an "appliance" unless you
really want to. PVR software still allows for more power and flexibility and HD
really benefits from being able to easily upgrade storage.

Re:That's because they need MythTV (3, Insightful)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953446)

Re "seeing a commercial these days just feels odd"... I get the same feeling when I am stuck using a public PC (e.g. at a library) and start seeing ads on the web.

Re:That's because they need MythTV (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29954026)

This is why most networks *don't* consider DVR viewers to be real viewers.

Well that's quite right. The networks are willing to count DVR viewers, but the advertisers are not. The advertisers claim these DVR numbers are worthless to them since DVR viewers don't see the commercials. I don't want to give-up my DVR (actually VCR), but I think they have a valid point.

The advertisers are paying to be SEEN, not skipped.

Re:That's because they need MythTV (3, Insightful)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953518)

I think the point of the article is that most (ok, less than half) of people just don't care about commercials because TV is a passive, background activity. If you're cooking dinner while you're watching house, you might actually like the fact that there are breaks in the program so you can tend to the food during the break. For instance.

I'm curious as to how these statistics were collected. Do the Nielsen people have technology installed in the DVRs now? I'd be surprised if our DVRs aren't being data-mined yet.

Re:That's because they need MythTV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29953604)

I actually enjoy watching the commercials where I am (Canada) simply because many are "informative" to a certain extent. I do like to know when/where sales are on, and for the most part, commercials are a good way of learning that new products are available.

I never "believe" commercials and their wacky claims, but sometimes the Geico eyeballs and the Swiffer Mop ( I feel sorry for him) are funnier than the TV show I am watching.

I hate to say it, but the acting in most commercials is better and more believable than most TV shows...Lost...anyone?

Re:That's because they need MythTV (2, Insightful)

mini me (132455) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953778)

are funnier than the TV show I am watching.

If the commercials are better than the TV show you are watching, why are you watching that TV show in the first place?

Re:That's because they need MythTV (3, Insightful)

vivek7006 (585218) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953648)

MythTv is great but linux GPU drivers for ATI/Intel/Nvidia suck. The last time I tried MythTv, I could not get hardware acceleration and GPU decoding for HD content (for mpeg2 and H264). I tried both the open source drivers and the binary blob but it just doesn't work. On windows, Nvidia has purevideo and ATI has avivo which work like charm. Play full-HD videos and CPU usage barely climbs up since GPU is doing all the hardwork, but on linux even my penryn based core2duo CPU started crapping out when playing HD content. I ultimately settled with Windows media center which coupled with DVRMStoolbox provides automatic commercial detection and skipping. It work for me.

Re:That's because they need MythTV (2, Informative)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953724)

MythTv is great but linux GPU drivers for ATI/Intel/Nvidia suck.

You're absolutely right. I'd go so far as to say their entire frontend is coated with a thin layer of suck. Some of it is Linux related, some not.

That said, the backend is a wonderful thing. I just wish Boxee and/or XBMC would utilize all the features the backend offers.

Re:That's because they need MythTV (1)

eqisow (877574) | more than 4 years ago | (#29954022)

Linux Nvidia drivers support GPU accelerated playback [wikipedia.org] and AMD/ATI isn't far behind [wikipedia.org] . AMD's solution is behind primarily because it lacks software support. However, mplayer (and I assume other players) support VDPAU. On the other hand, I found that VDPAU wasn't compiled into the Fedora version of mplayer, requiring me to compile it myself.

At any rate, the point is that the *drivers* are fine in this area. If something is lacking it's probably either your distro or MythTV's software support. (I don't know enough about MythTV to say if it supports VDPAU or not, maybe somebody else can clarify.)

Re:That's because they need MythTV (5, Insightful)

ArbitraryDescriptor (1257752) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953796)

Hello, I am the sponsor who keeps your favorite show on the air. Have we met? No? Well let me introduce myself.

I am not a magical entity, I am merely a corporation looking to protect my bottom line. I do not like or dislike shows, I do not judge them in any way. I don't have the internet, and I don't read your fan forums. So I don't know how many of you really like the show; all I know is whether you saw my ad or not. I pay your favorite show's bills because people that I trust tell me that you watch my commercials. If I found out that you were not watching my commercials, I would stop wasting my money on you, and your show would die.

Are popular Sci-fi shows canceled because they are more expensive? Probably, the return on investment for special effects and such is not so great when compared to a sitcom. But is the return on investment made even worse because a much larger percentage of their fans torrent, DVR, or otherwise remove themselves from the Nielsen numbers? More than likely.

Re:That's because they need MythTV (1)

Killer Orca (1373645) | more than 4 years ago | (#29954000)

Dear Mr. Network Execubot, watching your ad is not the same thing as purchasing your product, in some cases if the ads are bad enough it drives people away from buying your good/service. Also please stop raising the decibel level when a commercial comes on, that is really annoying.

Re:That's because they need MythTV (1)

dj_tla (1048764) | more than 4 years ago | (#29954046)

I guess not all DVRs are created equally then, because when I was at my parents' house I was constantly frustrated by how difficult it is to fast forward through commercials on their Shaw-supplied DVR. The first level of fast-forward, which should double the speed the video playback, almost appears to slow it down, then jumping to the second level makes it skip fast enough that you're likely to have next week's Lost spoiled for you. A few years ago there was a button to skip exactly 15 seconds, which made it very easy to skip commercials, but they essentially disabled that button quite a while ago, and since then the fast-forward / rewind capabilities have gotten gradually worse. I'm not sure how many people use DVRs supplied by their cable company, but the ability for the company to push updates to essentially cripple your machine is something that needs to stop.

Me, I'll stick to downloading everything with the commercials already stripped out.

DVR usage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29953226)

I use my DVR for 2 reasons: to watch my program when I want and to watch without commercials. I *always* skip commercials when watching on my DVR...and I usually mute my TV if I'm watching regular programming during commercials...

Re:DVR usage (3, Funny)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953314)

skipping ads is communism / terrorism / child-unfriendly :P

Re:DVR usage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29953552)

I call it taking control of your own bandwidth usage. Besides, ads scare the hell out of me. That's terrorism if you ask me.

Re:DVR usage (1)

camperslo (704715) | more than 4 years ago | (#29954038)

skipping ads is communism / terrorism / child-unfriendly :P

Oh, you must mean the Apple "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" ads. I watch and save those.

I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (1, Insightful)

daveewart (66895) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953250)

I don't understand why those with PVRs still watch the ads. I've found that, with the sole exception of the ad-free (but paid-for, of course) BBC channels, the ad breaks are _way_ too long; this is mostly the reason I use a PVR. To skip through the ads.

In addition, the Treat The Audience As If They Have An Attention Span Of Less Than A Minute approach, showing you highlights of what you're going to see soon, then actually showing you it, then showing you a re-cap of what you've just seen; that just encourages more skipping from me, really.

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953300)

I'm not sure how a PVR differs from a DVR, but I don't think the ratings detect when I leave a show running while I'm doing something else, and come back later to rewind and end up skipping the commercials.

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29953326)

Shows that do the recapping of what Ive already seen get an immediate pass from me. People may be stupid, but I dont think stupid people watch those shows, anyway.

And yeah, BBCA needs to stop doing pre-highlights of their episodes, its annoying.

I cant imagine living without time shifting now. I remember when I first got my DVR, I found myself wanting to rewind stuff I was listening to on the radio. I guess its a product of the times, that people like watching commercials, but I dont really get it.

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (1, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953328)

How predictable...the first 3 three comments are about how slashdotters don't watch ads on their DVRs and don't understand why anybody does.

So, am I psychic, or do you idiots really have nothing to offer?

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (1)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953398)

My starter for ten is "you're a troll!". How was that? :D

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953766)

How was that? :D

I'll give you a technical win, since I didn't need to post this comment, or post it in this way, but jesus, can we take it as given that MS sucks, linux isn't ready for the desktop and that geeks aren't like 90% of people and save us all some time?

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (1)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953856)

OK, that was unexpected. Aren't you supposed to respond with hostility? Turn in your troll card!

By all means, go ahead and mention something we've not all seen many times before.. I dare you :P

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953452)

Grandpa may be a little slow, but he isn't stupid.

He can understand the whole idea behind SKIPPING THE D*MN COMMERCIALS. So that
obviously leads to the question: "who the h*ll is still watching the commercials"?
Really. When I say "grandpa" I don't just use that figuratively. I know a "grandpa"
that skips commercials using his cable-provider-provided PVR.

It's not just the basement dwelling Linux geeks that skip commercials with PVRs.

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953636)

So that obviously leads to the question: "who the h*ll is still watching the commercials"?

Keep in mind that "the DVR playing the commercials" is not the same thing as "someone watching the commercials". My DVR plays commercials all the time, but I'm not necessarily sitting there watching it.

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953884)

Exactly. If it is in the background, I don't generally bother, but then again, I'm not really watching it, either. If I'm paying attention to the show, the commercials are gone.

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (2, Insightful)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953562)

How predictable...the first 3 three comments are about how slashdotters don't watch ads on their DVRs and don't understand why anybody does.

So, am I psychic, or do you idiots really have nothing to offer?

Since I am one of those 'idiots', I guess I'll respond with -

This is Slashdot. Exactly what were you expecting?

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (2, Funny)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953688)

A beowulf cluster of smug elitist know-it-alls, you insensitive clod!

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (1)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953734)

Maybe he was expecting that everyone would perceive his meaningless post bitching about meaningless posts being, well, meaningful.

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953754)

At least a few mod-ed it up as well.

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953788)

This is Slashdot. Exactly what were you expecting?

I wasn't. Hence the comment. If it gets just one poster here to realize that he/she is demographically insignificant, then I have done good work.

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (1)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953866)

How predictable...the first 3 three comments are about how slashdotters don't watch ads on their DVRs and don't understand why anybody does.

and the comment after yours is about how I don't watch TV anymore. And seriously, I don't. DVRs seem archaic, and are a pain in the *@#$ because you have to decide what you want to watch well in advance, which (ahem) sucks. It's all Hulu/Netflix for me, with occasional visits to the network websites... EG: www.cbs.com, www.fox.com, etc.

We still have a TV for the Xbox/Wii/PS2, which we use to watch movies on Netflix instant play from time to time. We probably rent 1 DVD per month from Netflix, just because nobody really takes the initiative to mail the DVD back, and we don't care.

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (1)

socrplayr813 (1372733) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953890)

Why am I an idiot for not wanting to watch commercials? I don't change my habits or spend money based on TV commercials, so they have no effect on my life other than to waste my time. I prefer to watch my show and move on to more productive/entertaining things. I gain about 15 minutes back for every 'hour' of TV that I watch without commercials. That is hardly trivial for the average TV-watching person.

If you like watching commercials, go have a ball; I'm not going to stop you. Why does that have any bearing on my life or my preferences?

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (2, Interesting)

langedb (518453) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953358)

I don't understand why those with PVRs still watch the ads. .

In our case, the wife likes watching the ads as it's her primary way to learn about new products and services.

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (1)

jridley (9305) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953564)

That's exactly why I DON'T watch commercials. I don't need any new products and services, and knowing about them just gives me one more thing to potentially covet and spend money I don't need to be spending.

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29953696)

That's exactly why I DON'T watch commercials. I don't need any new products and services, and knowing about them just gives me one more thing to potentially covet and spend money I don't need to be spending.

That sounds to me like you're admitting you're pretty easily coerced and lead around by advertising messages. You don't have the mental ability to filter such things out, so you're afraid of them damaging your precious, perfectly crafted tastes? How about you grow some thicker skin and some degree of cynicism? Might help far more than any PVR ever will in your personal anti-advertising crusade.

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (1)

OpenSourced (323149) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953738)

Yeah! I tried to install AdBlockPlus to mine loved and honored, and she fighted the idea with tooth and nail. She likes the ads. She wants to be informed of the last offers and like stuff. I suppose that for someone for which shopping is an important part of life, it makes sense. Kind of.

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (2, Insightful)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953378)

Also, who wants to be told (via advertising) that they have the IQ of a boiled-egg and that hypno-toad (*) says to buy the product ?

Having said that I helped my tv move out five years ago and every day my brain has clawed its way slightly further back from the brink.

(*) If only they had people as charismatic as hypno-toad in ads.

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (4, Interesting)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953380)

I don't understand why those with PVRs still watch the ads.

I enjoy ads that I find clever or interesting - for example, I love most of the ones Jack in the Box (a US hamburger chain) makes. Since I skip through the commercial breaks using my Tivo's 30-second skip function, I'll often catch just enough of an ad so I can tell if it's likely to catch my interest - in which case, I watch it.

If I had to estimate, I'd say I watch at most 15 percent of the commercials, though; and that's likely a high estimate.

I think the bottom line is: When I watch ads, I'm doing so for the same reason I watch a TV show - for entertainment.

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (1, Troll)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953506)

"I love most of the ones Jack in the Box"

Yeah. You might want to keep that to yourself.

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (1)

228e2 (934443) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953876)

Those were actually pretty hilarious

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (2, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953716)

I agree. I've been a TiVo user for years. I do skip a fair number of commercials, but there is a good reason for that.

Some commercials are very good, entertaining. I don't mind them. I may stop to watch them. Apple's ads usually do this. Many commercials are generic, and I don't care that much. I'll often just let them play and avoid them.

The problem is getting torn out of the program when I'm really watching. I enjoy watching the latest episode of HOUR_LONG_SHOW, but I hate watching the same commercial once per commercial break. Let's say I record 2 or 3 hours of television off a cable channel. It's very common for me to be given 8-10 chances to see one ad. Over. And over. And over.

By the 3rd view, I really don't care. By the 6th, I want to kill you. You're not helping yourself at that point. It's probably better I do skip the ad at that point.

When commercials are funny/cute/interesting/catchy you can easily get me to watch. When it's like hearing a 2 year old say "Yes! I'm the hemorrhoid lady!" for the 40th time, I jump for the remote.

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953444)

The really annoying thing is Alias: they have recaps at the start of every episode for relevant backstory, but you can't skip to the start of the ep. - chapter forward loses about 5 minutes of story.

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (1)

zero0ne (1309517) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953970)

You do know that show is over right?

I'm surprised they still air it anywhere.

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (2, Insightful)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953464)

Because:

1) Commercials make good intermission points to let the dogs in or out of the house, take a bathroom break, or whatever. No need to do the FF thing when you need to walk away from the boob tube a second (or 30) anyway.

2) Some commercials are:

a) Related to something you may like to buy soon (ie. Thats a nice looking car, etc.)

b) Clever or interesting enough for you to want to view it.

c) Taking advantage of me falling asleep in front of the TV again, so the commercials played without interruptions.

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953592)

1) It's 2009. You can make any intermission point you like. It can even be
      at the normal commercial break. You just don't have to watch the commercials.

2) Landline cable companies have a nasty habit of over-writing the commercials on
      the incoming feed. This would not be so bad if they weren't so bad. They will
      often take a somewhat relevant commercial and replace it with something that
      just makes you go WTF.

      My original S1 Tivo first earned it's stripes skipping these kinds of commercials.

I recently watche a cable travel show in "LiveTV" mode once and that really REALLY gave me a renewed appreciation for the 30-second-skip button and automated commercial skipping.

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29953662)

b) Clever or interesting enough for you to want to view it.

There was a great ad on Hulu for FedEx, it was like 10s of stuff being ff'd through while the voice over guy says, 'we understand your time is precious', then ends with 'Brought to you faster with FedEx'. Clever, funny, and fast, everything I would ever want in an add break.

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29953532)

I'll probably watch the ads about half the time. To skip the ads, I have to remember to do it, and also remember that I'm watching recorder television and not live. Generally I'll have to be annoyed by the ads as well. If I don't get the feeling that I'm watching more ads than programming, I usually feel it's easier just to watch them. I'm not morally opposed to ads (I only block them on the webs when they start moving too much and get distracting), if they don't get in my way I don't go out of my way to remove them.

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (1)

slack_justyb (862874) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953742)

Well to me, watching ads during a recorded show usually equals; getting up going to the bathroom and then coming back to skip the rest of the ads. I don't know about everyone else, but ads are useful as an excuse to start ignoring the TV for ten or so minutes. If I don't need such a break from the TV I'll just skip the ads.

Yes, yes, I know about the almighty pause button and I use it when I need to break from the TV for thirty or so minutes (pull dinner out, talk to children, eat dinner, go on walk, check snail-mail box, watch sunset, enjoy cup of coffee on patio, enjoy what life is really all about, etc...) but usually the power button is used for that purpose rather than the pause. I don't know about everyone else, but I just can't seem to stand watching today's TV programming for more than twenty minutes at a time (it's not that I don't like the content, otherwise I wouldn't be watching the show, just something about how it just isn't the pace that real life usually works at) even without the ads, which 90% of the time most shows fit nicely into, but every so often I need to break a show into pieces.

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (1)

Alrescha (50745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953830)

"I don't understand why those with PVRs still watch the ads."

I don't understand how people *can* watch the ads.

I know this is somewhat off-topic, but in what universe is bludgeoning me 8 times in an hour *with the same ad*, *in the same show*, a good idea?

A.
(who skips ads, or uses the mute button while watching live TV)

Re:I don't get why PVR-users watch recorded ads... (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953924)

I don't understand why those with PVRs still watch the ads. I've found that, with the sole exception of the ad-free (but paid-for, of course) BBC channels, the ad breaks are _way_ too long; this is mostly the reason I use a PVR. To skip through the ads.

Some people take longer to go to the toilet than others. It's easier to let the thing run than push buttons and pause. Others people more time to digest the inane plot. You see if they give a damn about the feature they may need to think about it, whereas who needs to think about the ad. Oh sure, occassionally one's entertaining but for the most part they put the couch in couch potato

You're right though, the ads have gotten too long. I honestly can't believe that TV ads work as well as they obviously do. Like bottled water becoming popular I can't explain it. You'd think everyone knows the ads are just exaggerations or outright lies designed to make you buy poor product. It's a long time since the ads were actually there to inform.

Really? (3, Interesting)

Mr.Fork (633378) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953266)

Recorded shows increase viewership? Like pirated movies increase movie ticket sales? Like pirated music increases digital music sales?

Question is, will the media giants really wake up and stop all this lawsuit nonsense. Will RIAA, MPAA and other copyright trolls really give up the ghost and embrace the digital age and realise the potential of the internet?

Re:Really? (0, Redundant)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953420)

No.

Re:Really? (1)

Clipless (1432977) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953474)

Not as long as they are making money

Re:Really? (3, Insightful)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953524)

Recorded shows increase viewership?

Yes. Unlike music most broadcast televisions are played only once. So you either make time to be in front of the TV to watch it live, or you record it.

Time shifting makes up for some stupid scheduling decision a TV executive may make.

The point you were trying to make about piracy doesn't make sense in this context...

Re:Really? (2, Interesting)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953638)

Time shifting makes up for some stupid scheduling decision a TV executive may make.

Bingo! And it might not even be a stupid scheduling decision. Maybe they showed my favorite show right when my GF was "in the mood". Yeah, unlikely with this crowd, but not totally impossible.

Re:Really? (1)

StellarFury (1058280) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953956)

The point he was making was that technologies the RIAA/MPAA are afraid of actually end up making them money, which does make sense in this context. All the questions posed were sarcastically rhetorical, not literal.

Please read comment before posting reply. Thank you, come again.

Re:Really? (1)

Artraze (600366) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953676)

I doubt they ever will. You see, they spend so much time making up statistics and figures about the problems of piracy, they can not believe that statistics showing _positive_ aspects of piracy are anything but made up as well. So, they have to defer to the most basic facts in the situation: people have got their stuff and didn't pay them for it, and therefore piracy is bad.

Re:Really? (2, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953690)

My guess is that they'll treat the internet the same way they've treated every other technological advance for the last century+: fight with everything available to them to resist changing their business model until their respective corporate shareholders start lighting their torches and sharpening their pitchforks and grudgingly adapt to the new technology slowly but never really taking full advantage of it. Perhaps even snagging themselves a new fangled piece of legislation like the DMCA or ACTA.

Define "humor" (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953298)

FTA:

When NBC added the “The Jay Leno Show” at 10 each weeknight, it boasted that the show would be “DVR proof,” meaning that because the humor was topical, viewers were more likely to watch it live, avoiding much of the commercial-skipping that was expected to plague recorded shows.

I think the only truly funny thing here is that NBC considers Leno to be humorous. His face looks like a banana...that is sort of funny, I guess.

Re:Define "humor" (2, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953606)

Back in the early 90's, The Ben Stiller Show did a skit that I thought pretty much summed up everything that sucks about Jay Leno. The skit is set at the tryouts for the Tonight Show and Leno just gets up and starts dancing around like a stupid puppet. When someone from off camera asks him if that's supposed to be funny, he answers "Who cares, you're going to give this job to me no matter what I do, right?" That's Leno's entire career in a nutshell.

Re:Define "humor" (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953784)

Diggnation on Revision3 does commercials right. Kevin and Alex do the commercial spots themselves and the show doesn't skip a beat. The fact that the show hosts do the commercial spots adds sincerity and reminds the viewers that the show, the sponsors and the viewers are part of the same ecosystem. Revision3 is internet-only on-demand, so you can only get the show in a DVR-like format.

but are they really? (2, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953310)

What are the odds that most people use the time during commercials to go get themselves a drink or something and aren't actually watching them? Sure with a DVR you could skip over them but it could very well be just a habit not to do so.

Re:but are they really? (2, Interesting)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953422)

What are the odds that most people use the time during commercials to go get themselves a drink or something and aren't actually watching them?

For me? Zip. I *still* skip the commercials, then press "pause". I have a MythTV system and for most, well behaved shows, this is a snap. Hell, even if I'm available to watch something live, I'll often do something else while the show records just so I can skip through the commercials later.

That's the BAD economy! (2, Insightful)

CyberLord Seven (525173) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953338)

The same thing happened during the 1970s. That's how shows like Barreta and The Dukes Of Hazard stayed on the air so long.

Back then, when TV was mostly over the air and free I watched commercials. Now that I pay for TV I won't tolerate commercials. I DVR any show I watch that has commercials and watch it at a later date when I can skim through the commercials. It is a rare commercial that I watch. I stop only for those that seem interesting, i.e. have pretty chicks featured prominently! :)

I actually like commercials... (2, Interesting)

DevStar (943486) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953342)

Much to my wife's chagrin, I actually enjoy watching commercials. Not all or even most commercials, but I like to do 30s skip to see which commercials look interesting, then I'll rewind and watch them.

When I'm online I'm just not that interested in going to a website to watch movie trailers, but if one happens to be on while I'm 30s skipping, I'm a lot more inclind to watch. My web-mode is very reading centric with lots of clicking. My TV mode is very much a passive observer.

Re:I actually like commercials... (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953578)

the only commercials I watch are Jack in the Box (and I've never been inside of one).

watching commercials (3, Interesting)

BigHungryJoe (737554) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953364)

Commercials give me a break to go pee, make a phone call, or grab another brew. I still need that break when I'm watching a DVR'd show. I'm not actually watching the commercials.

Re:watching commercials (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29953408)

Try the "pause" button, you can stop for a break whenever you want to.

Re:watching commercials (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953582)

But it makes more sense to pause when the story arc pauses. I do this with movies - wait till the end of the scene or the crucial line is delivered.

Especially since this behaviour has been programmed in since the beginning of TV - when a commercial comes on your brain checks things like do I need more fluid or less? And then you can do something about it.

Commercials are basically the writers' way of saying "Collect your thoughts for a few minutes".

Re:watching commercials (2, Funny)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953678)

Try the "pause" button, you can stop for a break whenever you want to.

But...that's extra work! Geeze! When I'm in front of the TV, I veg, man. I don't even get up to pee - I wear Depends and just go in my pants. Same with #2 - I blame the cat when the wife comes in. You can't expect someone to work when they're watching TV! It's bad enough I got to hit the power button and the play button.

Re:watching commercials (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29953454)

You know, if you push the "Pause" button on the DVR remote, you can go pee, make a phone call, and grab another brewski, all without worrying whether or not the program is back on...

As many have pointed out, it doesn't do any good to increase viewership if you also enable skipping of commercials. Product placement is the future of television advertising. What's amusing now is watching home improvement shows where they blur the labels on any product whose makers haven't payed up! They even pixelate T-shirt logos.

Re:watching commercials (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953750)

So you watch TV by yourself then?

Re:watching commercials (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29953570)

Commercials give me a break to go pee, make a phone call, or grab another brew. I still need that break when I'm watching a DVR'd show. I'm not actually watching the commercials.

And you can't hit the pause button why?

Re:watching commercials (1)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953572)

Hi. I'm your pause button. Have we met? I look like two parallel vertical lines, and sometimes I share a home with your play button. Maybe we met once and you forgot about me.. I'd love to hear from you! K, bye.

Re:watching commercials (1)

ionix5891 (1228718) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953608)

with so many commercial breaks you either have a drink problem or/and bladder problem

Re:watching commercials (2, Funny)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953680)

The beer commercials contribute to one, and I'm sure there's a drug commercial for the other.

Re:watching commercials (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29953940)

Exactly, whenever I watch something with ads that has been recorded, if I just need to use the bathroom or get something from the fridge I let the ads run, I like the extra background noise (even if I don't pay attention to it), and if you don't like the noise, there's always the Mute button. Letting the ads run while I take a piss means I have to fast-forward through that much less crap to get back to the show of interest. If what you want to get up and do takes a short time, why pause if you're only going to fast forward anyway?

Over enthusiastic conclusions (3, Interesting)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953436)

"After years of panicked lawsuits against TiVo and DVR technology in general, the NYTimes is reporting on yet another lesson for content providers to learn and then immediately forget"

"According to Nielsen, 46 percent of viewers 18 to 49 years old for all four networks taken together are watching the commercials during playback, up slightly from last year"

"some shows having increases of more than 20 percent when DVR ratings are added"

So, the ad value drops by 54%... But up to 20% more viewers are added... Giving, at best, 55.2% of your former ad viewership.

Yes, 55.2% of your old value is SO much better than the former 100%.

Drawing the conclusion that content providers were wrong to freak out about DVRs is farcical. Their product is still worth at least 45% less to advertisers. Yes, 45% less is better than 54% less, that 20% bump from DVRs hooking more viewers is nice and all... But, seriously, it's like saying "Hey, we burned down half your home but, good news, we totally discovered a small basement you didn't know about in the charred wreckage. Aren't you grateful we torched your home?!"

Re:Over enthusiastic conclusions (2)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953628)

You're assuming that 100% of people who watched regular TV without DVRs watched all of the commercials and that is a very bad assumption. Of course it's also foolish to equate not skipping an ad for actually watching an ad. I mean how many people do other stuff while the commercials are running?

Re:Over enthusiastic conclusions (1)

socrplayr813 (1372733) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953978)

Exactly. In the rare instances when I actually let a commercial play through, it's almost always because I'm doing something else (ie. bathroom, getting a drink, having a conversation). Unless I find a commercial entertaining, I just don't watch it. Even if I have to sit through commercials and have nothing else I need to do, I don't pay attention to them. I just space out and think about other things.

Re:Over enthusiastic conclusions (1)

BryanL (93656) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953892)

Except that these were people that probably would not have watched the show to begin with because they had more important things to do (or to watch another show). So if a show gets 20% more viewers with those using DVRs (using your numbers), and almost half of them watch the commercials, that is almost 110% of ad viewership.

Irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29953458)

Based on those numbers, (viewership up around 10% with 54% of DVR watchers skipping commercials) looks to me like the number of people watching commercials would go down. Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't get how this is different then what the content providers worry about. Programming viewership goes up and commercial viewership goes down. If I was a major network, I wouldn't care how many people watched my show, but how many people watched the commercials. You know, the part that actually makes money for them. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for on-demand, over the internet, time-shifted whatever. But claiming that these results fly in the face of what was expected seems a tad over blown.

The first time, I watch it. (1)

crovira (10242) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953544)

After that, they can save their money.

I have got a memory. I don't need to see it umpteen more times.

They don't know when to quit, that 's their problem.

They're cutting into my show time, that's my problem and I skip the ads because I can.

television was supposed to kill the cinema house (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953548)

then the vcr was supposed to kill the cinema house

now the internet is supposed to kill the cinema house

meanwhile:

http://boxofficemojo.com/yearly/ [boxofficemojo.com]

lesson: people fear losing control. as if control had anything to do with making money off media in the first place

in your desperate attempt to retain control, dear media execs, you might want to notice you are wasting a lot of energy over issues that have nothing to do with your bottom line. only your fear tells you this is the case

in your business strategies, you need more zen, less mafia goons

Re:television was supposed to kill the cinema hous (2, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 4 years ago | (#29954032)

then the vcr was supposed to kill the cinema house

A bit off-topic, but: In my (and my wife's) case, I usually say "Netflix and a LCD television killed the cinema house" - but in truth it was the various cinema houses that killed themselves off. Ridiculous prices for food; Overpriced admission costs, plus (adding insult to injury) 20 minutes of commercials before you get to see the movie; and having to tolerate the obnoxious behavior of some other patrons - or try to deal with it myself - because there's no such thing as an usher anymore.

Commercials (4, Insightful)

ArcadeNut (85398) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953550)

The only reason I wind up watching commercials is because I forgot I'm watching something on the DVR and I am allowed to fast forward through it! I must be getting old..

Re:Commercials (1)

bughunter (10093) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953728)

I'm with you. I have PVR with a 30 sec forward skip button. I get to see a few frames of each commercial, essentially. There are a few reasons I'll watch the full commercial; yours is one of them:

- I'm not paying attention anyway. (We make a poor advertising audience if we can't remember the product name.)

- The commercial is for a product or service or program I'm already interested in. (Mac vs PC, anyone?)

- The commercial has a hot babe. (I love Pantene commercials.)

- The commercial is entertaining or attention-grabbing. (Rare, nowadays. I'm a hardened cynic.)

In general, the commercials are ineffective at my house for one reason or another. Therefore, I'm "stealing" television, even though I pay Charter for it.

Not to mention... (2, Interesting)

cpattersonv1 (1664205) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953612)

One of the benefits to the networks as far as ads go... our household might actually record 2 prime-time shows at once(dual tuner). Then we might potentially accidentally watch commercials on either one while we're waiting on our better half to get back from the bathroom or the kitchen. We will also go back and watch the interesting commercials... (Not the ones about medications and so forth though... those dollars aren't helping the drug companies at all... just driving up prices.)

Too bad there aren't that many real people working in the research departments for the networks... they might actually get a real idea about viewing habits... instead of approximating patterns based on computer models.

my own experience (2, Interesting)

rritterson (588983) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953632)

I use the 30 second skip button on my Tivo to flash through the commercials. This typically means that the only commercial I see is either the first one of the break, or the last one of the break. If the first one catches my attention in the first 3 seconds, I end up watching it, and if the last 5 seconds of the last one is intriguing (say, has a punch line but not the setup), I will rewind to watch it. Occasionally, I will end up watching a commercial in the middle if the quick flash draws my brain in too (typically with some sort of interesting colors, etc).

Otherwise, I just skip through them. Seems like there could be money made studying the unique commercial viewing habits of DVR users. I'm not sure if my own experiences are unique or common.

Also, is 'had commercial playing' the finest granularity Nielsen can provide? What percent of those people actually remembered what the ad was about? And how does that percentage compare to live TV watchers?

Re:my own experience (1)

Alamei (781359) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953934)

I'd like to pipe in to say that I have exactly the same viewing pattern. A commercial at the beginning or end of the break has a couple of seconds to hook me on entertainment value before I start skipping. It may very well behoove networks to start charging a premium for the commercials placed at the beginning or end of each break (if they do not practice this already). Does anyone have info on whether placement of the commercial within the break (as opposed to where the break happens within the show) affects pricing for advertisers?

For some reason this article (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29953764)

makes me want to TIVO a show about the MPAA sposored by RIAA.

DVR increases ratings? DUH! (4, Insightful)

businessnerd (1009815) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953888)

They say that DVRs have increased ratings for shows as if it's surprising. Isn't this the whole point of a DVR though? You record it because you would not have otherwise been able to watch the show in its regularly scheduled time slot. So instead of just plain missing the show, you record it and watch it later. Instead of having to pick between two shows where one will get watched and the other will get missed, you record them both, and they both get watched. In the latter, the DVR has increased your potential audience. I'm a little surprised about the commerical watching though. As a MythTV user, I skip commercials altogether without the need for any user interaction. However, in cases where the commercials are not skipped (like if I start watching a show fifteen minutes into the broadcast), it's about a 60/40 split as to whether I'll bother fast forwarding. Someimes I'm really that lazy where lifting my arm to pick up the remote seems like too much effort. Other times it's the perfect bathroom break. Even though MythTV skips my commercials and could potentially pause for a break whenever I want, I tend to do it when there is a commercial simply because the flow of the show dictates a pause for commercial. It's kind of weird to pause in the middle of a conversation and come back a few minutes later. It totally messes with the flow.

Subliminal (1)

Tibia1 (1615959) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953900)

Fast forward functions (I'm not sure about the new ones) enable you to see frames at certain intervals. That means you'll still most likely see this for a McDonald's commercial:
1. Nice juicy burger
2. Person smiling
...
7. McDonald's double arches logo
Sure, it's not exactly the same, but seeing a 30 second commercial in a few seconds is still seeing and recognizing a product.(depending on how hungry you are)

we're not watching the ads -- we're distracted (1)

Jeff Jungblut (744824) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953902)

When watching programs like soap operas that don't require full-time attention, we'll be doing other stuff on our computers (work, WoW, newsreading, facebook, email etc) and often not bother to skip commercials if we're not even paying attention to what's playing on the TiVo. It'd be interesting to see if certain classes of shows get commercial-skipped more than others. Here, shows that require full couch-sitting attention will get commercial-skipped a lot more than shows that can be treated more as background noise.

Actual Target Advertising Audience (2, Insightful)

resistant (221968) | more than 4 years ago | (#29953926)

It occurs to me to wonder if a person who is strong-willed and motivated enough to take the trouble to skip commercials on a DVR, is of the sort who weren't listening to the commercials anyway even if they did occasionally stare at the screen during commercial breaks before the era of DVR, and further, whether the sort of person who passively listens to commercials with or without a DVR is the sort of person who tends to be influenced by commercials with which to begin. Perhaps worried advertisers and network executives realistically aren't losing nearly as much of their actual, receptive (if hard to measure) audience(s) as they fear.

We're trained... (1)

FellowConspirator (882908) | more than 4 years ago | (#29954036)

... to get up during the commercial break and got to the bathroom, get a snack, or feed the pets. My generation grew up with commercials that we couldn't skip over, so we've trained ourselves to take them as a cue for intermission. In fact, advertising has become so common an obtrusive that we've been trained to simply block them out altogether. More than half the people I know can sit through a commercial break staring at the screen and not be able to tell you what products were advertised in that break.

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