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DVR Viewers Push Ad Ratings Higher

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the future-is-now dept.

Television 177

An anonymous reader writes "It looks like DVRs and timeshifting has finally done what many people said it would do: increased overall viewership! USA Today reports: 'Among the things the report revealed is that many DVR viewers do not fast-forward through ads. The viewer total for broadcast network ads goes up 32% when DVR watchers within three days are included, according to Nielsen. For some prime-time shows, it means that DVR viewing, long seen as a threat to advertising, could even bring higher ad prices. NBC's The Office, for example, had a live-plus-three Nielsen commercial rating of 3.36 — higher than the 3.11 it got for the week of May 6 under the traditional Nielsen program rating system.' Makes me wonder where this will lead for my favorite genre shows which by their very nature have a higher DVR component and have seen declining viewership using the older methodology (BSG, SG-1, etc)."

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perhaps they are recording the ads (4, Insightful)

Le'BottomEh (750785) | more than 7 years ago | (#19353893)

and skipping them when they view it at a later date. That's what my friends do with their TiVo.

Re:perhaps they are recording the ads (2, Interesting)

QBasicer (781745) | more than 7 years ago | (#19353933)

I don't own a DVR, but I never bothered to fastforward during ads when watching VHS. Sometimes you saw the old commercials you remember from a long time ago, which is kinda fun...I guess.

Actually, ads don't really bother me, unless they're too redundant (same 2 ads every break, repeated once or twice during each break).

Re:perhaps they are recording the ads (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354481)

Before I had a DVR, I VCR-taped the few shows I watched, and fast-forwarded over the commercials. The DVR just makes it much more convenient to do so.

Re:perhaps they are recording the ads (1)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354871)

(same 2 ads every break, repeated once or twice during each break).

Then you don't remember what part of the show you're FF or RW in. "Is it the beginning, middle, or ending of the show?"

In the early-mid nineties, I used to tape Eek the Cat and The Tick whilst I was at the local DZ [wikipedia.org] for a morning and afternoon of jumping. I remember the ads were the same every break but the station bumpers were on a rotation. I could know where I was on the tape by the bumper placement.

Re:perhaps they are recording the ads (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19355041)

I heard an NPR story on this issue. A study found not only that most DVR users do play the commercials, but even users who self-reported skipping ads always or almost always, actually watched far more ads than they thought.

Re:perhaps they are recording the ads (2, Interesting)

vux984 (928602) | more than 7 years ago | (#19353965)

the article clearly indicated that they were NOT skipping the ads.

I have a DVR, I skip a lot of the ads, but not all of them. Sometimes I *want* a break. Sometimes the commercials are entertaining.

I'm sure some people almost always skip the commercials.
I'm sure some people almost never skip the commercials.

But the bottom line is if you start looking at people with viewers, at least SOME of them will be watching the commercials. That's much 'better' than just assuming none of them ever do.

Re:perhaps they are recording the ads (1)

Le'BottomEh (750785) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354059)

My bad, I must have skipped that part. I would curious to know how they came to that conclusion though.

Define "better" (3, Insightful)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#19355103)

"if you start looking at people with viewers, at least SOME of them will be watching the commercials. That's much 'better' than just assuming none of them ever do."

If you mean "better" in terms of scientific accuracy, you are right. But I'd like to suggest that "assuming none of them ever do" has a useful purpose too:

If you assume none of them ever do, you can convince Congress that the sky is falling and get technological control measures such as the DMCA or worse [wikipedia.org] in place.

Re:perhaps they are recording the ads (0, Redundant)

GIL_Dude (850471) | more than 7 years ago | (#19355443)

I skip all the ads. Every time.

My wife skips the ads only when I remind her to; otherwise she just "zones" and watches them.

The kids are better at it; they skip too.

Re:perhaps they are recording the ads (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19353989)

Among things the report revealed is that many DVR viewers do not fast-forward through ads.
TFA says they aren't. I myself don't often skip past commercials on my TiVo. But I also am not paying attention, I'm usually doing some other thing at my computer during the commercials (much like I did before I got TiVo and had to watch everything "live")

Re:perhaps they are recording the ads (4, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354143)

Using a Series 1 TiVo. I do that some times but not all the time. Most of the time I just let it play threw and just Use to TiVo to record the Show for me. Skipping Commericals reqires active television watching. Most of the time I am more passive TV watching while the show I playing I do something else. I normally get a Jist of what is going on and Ill stop every once in a while to see what is happening but I am not intently watching the show. Also it depends on how much free time. If I have like 20 mintues free I can watch a quick 30 minute show in that time if I skip commericals then I do so. But if I have a lot of free time and not much else to watch after that then I let it play threw. Advertisements are not Evil, but sometimes they are annoying. I use the TiVo as a tool to make my life better. Not so I can be an Anial Hyper Liberal and put work and effort to Fast Forward threw comericals just because they are there.

Re:perhaps they are recording the ads (3, Insightful)

Le'BottomEh (750785) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354317)

I don't own a TiVo but I have friends who do. I'm glad that people find it useful. I, myself, don't really have much time to watch TV and won't go shit crazy if I miss an episode of Battlestar Galactica. When I'm actively watching a show at my friend's place, we always skip the commercials. However, you are right, if you want some background noise while you work, you probably won't care if it's commercials or not.

Re:perhaps they are recording the ads (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19355801)

However, you are right, if you want some background noise while you work, you probably won't care if it's commercials or not.

Until the Vonage commercials come on...

Re:perhaps they are recording the ads (4, Funny)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354745)

Not so I can be an Anial Hyper Liberal and put work and effort to Fast Forward threw comericals just because they are there.

And people used to say TV rots the mind. Well, you showed them.

Re:perhaps they are recording the ads (3, Informative)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354533)

Your Tivo knows which parts you've fast forwarded through, and which parts you have repeated. All this info is sent back to the mother ship.

Re:perhaps they are recording the ads (1)

PhrankW (1077411) | more than 7 years ago | (#19355113)

Any number of reasons for this. l. They don't know how to fast forward. 2. They are too drunk/stoned to run the fast forward. 3. They want to see the ad. 4. They so much believe in the system that they feel an obligation to view the advertisement in return for getting to watch the show. 4. The ad is running, but no one is watching; while the ad is running, they go to the bathroom, get a snack or make whoopie. (When ads run on my DVR, this is the reason. 5. They are dead. As I read the article TWO-THIRDS of viewers do skip them. Do you suppose ad rates will be reduced proportionately? Phrank

I think most DVR users don't fast forward. (5, Interesting)

rsvedersky (132592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19353897)

Most of the DVR users I know seem to "forget" that they can fast forward and its not an issue. What I can't wait for is when viewership is actually tracked instead of by some representative selection of people who never seem to like the shows I like.

Re:I think most DVR users don't fast forward. (1)

Marty200 (170963) | more than 7 years ago | (#19353931)

I can see the forgetting bit. If I can pause and go get a snack or got to the bathroom anytime I want, I'll probably not thing about skipping the commercials.

MG

Re:I think most DVR users don't fast forward. (1)

DoohickeyJones (605261) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354029)

That happens with me, half the time.

I'll be halfway through a commercial break, decide I need a snack or something, and catch myself trying to guess if I have enough time before the commercials are over. (Doh!)

That is when I'll remember I'm watching a recording, and pause it, then fast forward through the rest of the commercial break when I get back. Otherwise, I tend to just let them run.

Re:I think most DVR users don't fast forward. (3, Funny)

flanksteak (69032) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354133)

I do something similar, and it makes me wonder sometimes just how my brain works.

When I'm watching a recording on the DVR, I often forget to FF through the ads,

but,

when I'm watching something live, I almost always instantly reach for the remote to try to FF, only to be informed by the tv that I can't.

sheesh.

Re:I think most DVR users don't fast forward. (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354221)

When I'm watching a recording on the DVR, I often forget to FF through the ads
This is nothing new. I do the same thing on this old device called a VCR. My wife's always yelling at me "You can fast forward, you know!" I'm not sure what it is, but I think there's something subliminally appealing about advertisements that make you want to watch them, even when you don't have to.

Re:I think most DVR users don't fast forward. (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354507)

Most of the DVR users I know seem to "forget" that they can fast forward and its not an issue. What I can't wait for is when viewership is actually tracked instead of by some representative selection of people who never seem to like the shows I like.
I watch shows on DVD, and sometimes I wish that there was a commercial in there, so I can sit and digest the big shocking reveal that just occurred without being distracted with technicalities like finding the remote and the pause button.

Then again, I also watch regular broadcast TV, I wish I never had to switch channel to avoid an annoying ad for something I'll never ever even consider buying.

The lesson is: Choice is good, anti-skip is evil.

Re:I think most DVR users don't fast forward. (5, Interesting)

wikdwarlock (570969) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354705)

My experience w/ a DVR is just the opposite, and is telling of how much I, and our culture, equate the real world to TV. I've found that since getting a DVR, I am inclined to rewind to make sure I heard something correctly, to laugh at someone picking their nose in an audience, to give myself extra time to solve the final Wheel of Fortune puzzle, etc. I skip as many ads as I can when we've partially recorded a show, and get miffed when I see the dreaded "Live Tv" message on screen. Ads in fully recorded shows are almost universally skipped unless they happen to contain something interesting to catch my eye in the half second of them I see as they're skipped. Furthermore, when I now listen to the radio, I find myself wanting to rewind it to hear the part of the traffic report I missed while not paying full attention. I also want to rewind conversations I've just had with people to recall what was said. The DVR experience of being able to pause, rewind, etc, has become so integral to my TV watching that it has bled over into other parts of my life where content is perhaps not fully registered on first "viewing". In my personal experience, the DVR fundamentally changes TV into an active process and affects how I look at other things as well.

Some DVR users may want to watch the ads. (4, Insightful)

w3woody (44457) | more than 7 years ago | (#19355151)

I fast forward--but for some ads I'll skip back and play the ad. The only reason why I don't like most advertising is because of ad saturation: after the first five hundred times I've seen an ad, the product is permanently burned into my brain--(*twitch* Ditech Mortgages *twitch*), and I don't need to see the ad anymore. Cute ads (the latest Apple Ads), ads for new movies, or for products I've never seen--I'll actually rewind the DVR and watch them.

Hell, with some of the tripe on TV nowadays sometimes the ads are the best part!

Re:I think most DVR users don't fast forward. (3, Informative)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 7 years ago | (#19355747)

I do fast forward most of the time, but sometimes during that fast forwarding I will actually stop and rewind an ad that grabs my eye.

To me, this shows that people will watch well-made commercials. (Witness: Superbowl commercials. People love them.)

Re:I think most DVR users don't fast forward. (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 7 years ago | (#19355797)

I'm one of those people who actually does skip the ads--most of the time. The reason I do this is to watch a 21 or 42 minute program versus a half-hour or hour program.

My DVR does not have a "jump" button, though. It has a Fast-Forward. In fact, it has three fast-forward speeds which appear, from the time-stamps, to be 2x, 10x, and 30x. 30x is a little fast--I need to be on my toes. 2x is a little slow. 10x is just about right and I tend to use that one.

What's interesting is that occasionally an ad will catch my eye. I will stop, go back, and watch it. I was thinking that this may mean the advertisers start building ads and buying ad time in order to catch our eyes as we fast-forward through. The little 15 second ads will probably disappear. You might see more 60 second ads being sold (at 10x, that gives 6 impressions to make me go "Whoa, what was that?") with more stunning visuals to catch the eye of the fast-forwarder.

In other words, I think the advertising world will adapt.

And they know this...how? (4, Interesting)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 7 years ago | (#19353917)

And just how do they know that DVRs are not skipping commercials? I do not see a reference in the article to specific DVRs that would report such a thing back to Nielson.

The commercials can usually be ignored when the show is finally watched or burned to DVD, right? The DVRs I see advertised all seem to offer this feature. I am looking to buy a combo DVD/VHS/DVR this year, so this feature sounds remotely useful to save DVD space. More shows per DVD!

Re:And they know this...how? (1)

BosstonesOwn (794949) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354211)

I often thought of that same thing , how can they track what I watch and what I do. I realized that i have digital cable and satellite. And both can hold searchs and stuff in memory , plus every digital cable box asks the head end for a key to the channel.

My assumption is that my dvr and cables boxes are telling comcast what I do. Which I wouldn't mind if it helps keep my favorite shows on.

I think Tivo can do the same. I had a Tivo connected to the net to retrieve it's guide info and I realized it must be tracking me , it started recommending shows and such for me. What I wasd a little ticked off about is it didn't seperate the users.

After using the Tivo for a couple weeks before giving in and turning it over to my wife , it must have determined me to be gay after 3 months of use. I came home to episodes of shows like queer eye for the straight guy , queer as folk , oz and other shows from lifetime like designing women.

None the less I feel this is how they track some. It could log all the button presses and errors to try and make it a better product , and a side affect is that it tracks your usage.

Re:And they know this...how? (2, Informative)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354473)

I often thought of that same thing , how can they track what I watch and what I do.

Nielsen has no idea what you are doing. They recruit viewers who install special monitoring equipment and/or keep diaries and extrapolate that to the overall population.

Re:And they know this...how? (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354549)

Forgot to add: Tivo tracks what you watch, comes up with preferences for you and reports data back. There are quite a few complaints about it deciding viewers are gay -- there are several possible conclusions one might make about that. Deliberately watching lots of ESPN and Spike to reset it doesn't seem to help.

Re:And they know this...how? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354667)

Forgot to add: Tivo tracks what you watch, comes up with preferences for you and reports data back. There are quite a few complaints about it deciding viewers are gay -- there are several possible conclusions one might make about that.

Now now, what it actually decides is that viewers watch the same things that gay people do. That's not the same conclusion. Based on the conclusion it does come to, it makes poor assumptions about what you want to watch, probably because certain factors aren't weighted heavily enough, or vice versa, or both.

Personally this gives me a little hope. Whether it shows that straights and gays aren't that different (they all watch the same craptacular media) or that most straights have a little gay in them (no pun intended) it gives me some hope for a reconciliation between sexual orientations.

Re:And they know this...how? (1)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 7 years ago | (#19355687)

Becuase watching the Logo channel does not make one gay.

Re:And they know this...how? (1)

LMacG (118321) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354511)

Tell me Joey, do you like . . . gladiator movies?

Re:And they know this...how? (1)

BosstonesOwn (794949) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354821)

Only the ones with big hulking men and long bathing scenes....ahhh damn I may be gay !

Re:And they know this...how? (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 7 years ago | (#19355033)

Yes, that's what they do. TiVo data from a few years back indicated that on average TiVo owners were watching the superbowl Victoria's Secret commercial multiple times. They could even tell which tit shots appealed to the most viewers. It's easy to think that they could tell which parts of a particular recording were played, how often, and what parts were or were not skipped.

Re:And they know this...how? (1)

Lockejaw (955650) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354417)

And just how do they know that DVRs are not skipping commercials? I do not see a reference in the article to specific DVRs that would report such a thing back to Nielson.
Nielson's typical measurement processes are 1) having subjects keep detailed logs of their watching and 2) installing their own monitoring systems on subjects' TV sets.

Re:And they know this...how? (1)

Iron Chef Unix (582472) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354777)

TiVo does indeed track what you do and when. You can opt out of this, but by default it anonymously tracks your viewing.

Case in point: During the Super Bowl "wardrobe malfunction" debacle, I recall reading that TiVo reported statistics on how many times TiVo owners skipped back to re-watch the incident.

Ads (5, Insightful)

Vexor (947598) | more than 7 years ago | (#19353925)

Ads are used for a lot of stuff. They give you a chance to grab another beverage, run to the bathroom, and so on. These people are probably not viewing them (exception being a particularly funny ad). The better answer might even be they can't find the fast foward button or the pause(for when they do need to get up) on their jumbo multiuse remotes.

Re:Ads (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 7 years ago | (#19355387)

I've been watching TV shows on DVD recently, and I keep waiting for a commercial so I can feed the dogs, go to the bathroom, etc. Sometimes if the dogs are really insistent on going out I even get up and still forget to pause it, and get annoyed that I have to miss some key part...

Re:Ads (1)

Vexor (947598) | more than 7 years ago | (#19355565)

I'm into the TV shows on DVD over a DVR personally. I too forget I can pause sometimes especially when the pets are getting pushy. I hate missing key plot elements. I think we as humans have just trained ourselves to wait for the ads to get our business done.

Why only 3 days? (1)

gtwreck (74885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19353927)

If they are going to change their methadology to include DVR statistics, why do they limit it to 3 days? I watch 95% of my non-live-sports TV on DVR, and most of the time I'm about 5-7 days behind. There must be some industry reason for the 3 day number- is somebody aware of the reason for that number?

Also, are Dish and DirecTV users still left out of Nielson ratings?

Re:Why only 3 days? (5, Informative)

ajanp (1083247) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354305)

"Live-plus-three" is basically an agreement between broadcasters and advertisers to agree to count viewers who watch the show within a 72 hour time period. It's pretty recent and it's being used nowadays due to the increasing number of viewers who watch shows via TiVO, DVR (I forget the exact number, but it's between 15-20% of American households now own a DVR), iPOD downloads, web broadcasts, etc.

Generally, adverstisers prefer to use "live" to determine rates (some commercials like movie releases can have less of an impact after time passes), broadcasters prefer "live-plus-seven", so I think "live-plus-three" became the compromise to include those people who do watch the show, but just aren't able to watch it live.

I'm not in that industry, but it seems like a pretty decent compromise (and I believe it's quickly becoming the new standard when negotiating ad rates) given the availability of recording devices and the significant amount of delayed viewing that occurs.

I guess I look at it from a different perspective. (1)

gtwreck (74885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19355333)

Your post was very informative, and I do not disagree. I guess why the 3 days bugs me is because these numbers are designed to set advertising rates, but are used to make decisions about content. Due to the business model, this sort of thing is going to happen- but I really get frustrated when good shows with reasonable, stable, viewing audiences get cancelled because they are no longer growing, or aren't a hit on the scale of Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, or American Idol. The 7-10 day number I think would be more effective to judge the quality of a series and determine it's fate.

I don't like that networks are able to make the same amount of money throwing inexpensive to produce crappy reality shows on the air instead of well-written higher budget scripted shows.

Farscape was killed because they could make more money with a collection of really bad reality shows.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip wasn't a runaway hit, but it was cancelled despite having a solid viewership. It was expensive to produce.

Battlestar Galactica has been under pressure from day one despite it's near-universal critical praise, solid acting, and good writing. Mainly because it's expensive to produce.

There are lots of shows with more universal appeal than sci-fi fare that fall into this category.

Re:Why only 3 days? (1)

68th Overlord (683058) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354313)

The reason I've seen claimed is that a substantial percentage of commercials are for date-limited sales, and so the commercials are essentially perishable.

It doesn't make so much sense to me either. Most commercials don't actually seem to be date-sensitive, and even those that are would still aid brand recognition and could lead to sales. The whole idea could be nothing more than a tactic to keep ad view numbers, and thus ad costs, down.

Re:Why only 3 days? (1)

KansasorPat (558354) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354359)

From the story: "About 95% of all broadcast prime-time DVR viewing is done within three days of the live telecast, according to Nielsen." Either Nielsen doesn't know people like you or you are part of the 5%.

Re:Why only 3 days? (1)

HistoricPrizm (1044808) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354389)

I can think of two reasons.

1) Time-sensitive commercials (probably not a great percentage, but still)

2) Most people (yourself not included, obviously) probably watch their recorded shows within 3 days. They had to cut it off somewhere.

Re:Why only 3 days? (1)

TMarvelous (928161) | more than 7 years ago | (#19355829)

I work in ad sales. Nielsen is offering Live, Live +same day, Live +1, +3, and +7 feeds. They also are releasing a beta of Commercial Minute Ratings where they measure every minute of every hour and can therefore tell advertisers how many eyeballs were actually watching their spots. The DVR feeds have been in beta for over a year and advertising agencies and tv nets all contributed feedback to get it to a place they were content with. All that said, a lot of advertisers won't accept a network telling them that ratings were higher three days later. Movie Studios and Retailers advertise date specific, usually heavier on Thursdays to drive weekend sales. The extra viewers of these spots 3 days later is wasted and the advertisers won't pay more for them. It's an ongoing battle in the industry.

Personal Experience (5, Interesting)

neersign (956437) | more than 7 years ago | (#19353943)

I know that I personally do fast forward thru most ads when wawtching a program on my DVR, but I do often stop and rewind to watch a particular advert. Sometimes its just because something looked funny other times it is genuine interest in the subject. I'd definitely say that it does make my overall experience more pleasurable as I never have to watch one of those "make me want to slit my wrists" Head-On commercials ever again.

Re:Personal Experience (1)

Shabbs (11692) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354255)

Same here. But even when we're FF'ing through the commercials, we're still getting a gist of what is being advertised, since we've all seen the commercials before and recognize them. I know when we FF, sometimes I'll comment to my wife "Oh man that commercial is funny." And sometimes I'll even rewind just to see it again for laughs.

I'm curious as to how they find out this info. Do they just call people up and ask if they saw the commercial during such and such episode and if they were using a PVR or watching real time? Do they ask if they were FF'ing at the time or were they watching it in regular speed? I've never been contacted by these guys so I have no idea what they ask to determine viewer ratings. I've always been curious as to how it all works out. Perhaps someone can shed some light, since I'm too busy FF'ing to Google for it. ;)

Cheers.

Re:Personal Experience (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354279)

I agree.....watch the show but skip most ads, watch the ones that are different or interesting. The only problem I have is that by watching some of the same shows (especially those that are new and syndicated at the same time), they don't hit the right demographic. I watch a lot of Law & Order....and there's a marathon on USA like every two or three days it seems. There is almost never an ad that appeals to me....and usually it's the same ones for each episode. Those, I skip. The new ads during first run show....I tend to watch those....They appeal to me more.

Layne

Bias.... (3, Interesting)

packetmon (977047) | more than 7 years ago | (#19353947)

Nielsen's new commercial data include an average viewer total for all of a show's commercials when it airs, as well as averages for those who watch commercials on a DVR up to seven days later. Did it occur to Nielen that it probably takes users a little longer to get use to the new functions on a DVR so they likely haven't even understood the concept "Oh man you mean I don't have to watch commercials!". I'd like to see them re-take these numbers in 3 month intervals and watch those numbers drop like the stock market during the dotcom depression

Re:Bias.... (2, Insightful)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354269)

Did it occur to Nielen that it probably takes users a little longer to get use to the new functions on a DVR so they likely haven't even understood the concept "Oh man you mean I don't have to watch commercials!".

I think they're talking about 7 days after the program is recorded, not 7 days after getting a DVR. I also think most DVR users have seen (and maybe even own) a VCR, so they're probably familiar with the 'fast forward' concept.

I'd say marketing folks might be interested in DVR-use trends and how ads get viewed weeks and months after the original airing, but seeing how many DVDs come with 'now in theatres' commercials, marketing folks have the long term memory of a goldfish and have no idea what is this '3 month' thing you speak of.

Re:Bias.... (2, Insightful)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354331)

Did it occur to you that DVR technology is not anywhere close to new and that people already get the idea. Hell, the concept of fast forwarding was pretty much introduced with the VCR.

Re:Bias.... (1)

KansasorPat (558354) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354535)

Also people are lazy and have been lazy since the invent of the fast forward button which other point out was long ago not just with the DVR. I know my parents mostly forget to fast forward through comercials and they've had a DVR for almost a year now. Even my tech savy friend that has a DVR won't fast forward even when he sees an add for Christmas when it is May. TV viewing is a time to relax and not a time to sit there with the remote in hand just waiting for the next commercial to fast forward through.

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19354729)

TV viewing is a time to relax and not a time to sit there with the remote in hand just waiting for the next commercial to fast forward through.

I don't have a DVR, but when I watch TV and a commercial comes on, I flip through the channels. I almost always get back to the show I was watching as the commercials are ending.

Re:Huh? (1)

KansasorPat (558354) | more than 7 years ago | (#19355539)

Different people have different habits. When I sit down to watch "The Office" I change to that channel then put the remote down until the credits when I change to CBS to watch "CSI". I don't flip channels because I'm not interested in seeing 2 minutes of another show or 2 minutes of commercials on another channel.

What's the point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19353973)

What's the point of having a DVR if you don't forward through the ads? I love my tivo....wait 20 minutes if I want to watch something 'live', turn the TV on, watch show without ads. Or wait until I want to watch said show, and then watch without ads.

I guess I just don't get it.

Re:What's the point... (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354027)

Well, the -original- point of dvr/pvr was that you could watch your show later, without having to be tied to the TV at certain times. Some of us actually use it that, and the ad-skipping is a bonus.

Re:What's the point... (1)

packetmon (977047) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354245)

Shame on you. I'm reporting you to the RIAA/MPAA for not watching commercials you illegal recorder you

tubg:i8l (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19354049)

Are you a NIGGER [goat.cx]

Everyone shut up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19354065)

Why is everyone posting here to criticize these results? Do you *want* the networks to keep trying to restrict DVRs?

Amazing (0, Offtopic)

Xenna (37238) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354107)

So I must be the only person who consistently skips all ads? Is there something wrong with me or with the rest of the world. Or - perhaps - is this just another example of wishful thinking like when illegal mp3 downloads actually boosted sales...

I haven't bought a CD since... ;)

X.

Personally I agree (1)

Orig_Club_Soda (983823) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354121)

My own habits show that I DVR shows that are in same time slot as my preferred show and that when I watch the records, I do not skip the commercials very much. (I am usually working or surfing while they are on). I am effectively watching more TV than if recording was banned.

And maybe its just me, but I also goto URLs show in commercials just to see whats there.

Additionally, although I may keep a season of something for a while, I delete it ultimately because disk space is too expensive for casual viewing.

Re:Personally I agree (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354307)

I watch more TV with my laptop open than without. Go to those URLs. Look up what else an actor might have been in. Check out Slashdot. Play "brain dead" games like Poker or non-twitch, non-timed games. That's my idea of interactive TV.

Layne

some dvrs dont skip adds? (3, Insightful)

icebones (707368) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354159)

I had no idea that some DVRs wouldn't FF thorough adds. I hope my cable company never "upgrades" to one. It's reached the point that when i actually do watch a show when it airs, I get annoyed that I can't FF through the commercials. The only time i let the comercials run on something I've recorded is when i need to get up for a minute.

Re:some dvrs dont skip adds? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354357)

There's a trick to this: don't ever start watching shows when they start. Most shows have about 46 minutes of actual show to the hour, so if you start watching 15 minutes in, you'll finish at roughly the same time.

Re:some dvrs dont skip adds? (1)

icebones (707368) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354693)

yeah, i know, i do that a lot of times, but there are times i just sit down and search throught the guide till i find something im interested in; history channel, discovery etc. I'm never gonna record these shows, but i do watch them from time to time. It's a funny feeling to try to fast forward a show thats live and you try to figure out whats wrong with the remote b4 realizing it's live.

Re:some dvrs dont skip adds? (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 7 years ago | (#19355087)

Some people apparently like watch the Bowflex commercials over and over and over again. I would, if the actors were naked and fucking each other. But they are not naked, so am not interested. I am glad to have TiVo.

ads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19354259)

I don't have a TiVo or DVR, but whenever the show goes to a commercial I mute the TV and more or less bury my face behind my computer screen so I don't even have to LOOK at the adverts. If I want to find out something about a product, I'll look it up on teh intarwebs, I don't need it to be flashed in my face every 8 minutes.

DVR (4, Insightful)

LordPhantom (763327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354289)

Being an avid DVR-er, my habits are as follows:

1) Start of commercial - hit fast forward 2) Skip back if/when I see something I'm looking for, or a funny looking add 3) Miss the start of the show, curse comcast for not having "skip ahead 30seconds" (I miss my Dish DVR :( ) 4) rewind 5) start watching show (with 5 seconds of last add)

In many ways, DVRs are doing to TV what the internet has done to "print" adds. In most papers there are sidebar adds that you can click on if interested, but ignorable otherwise.

I think that advertisers are going to have to go back to "selling" more and relying on obnoxious/flashy adds less. In the end, people want to know about truly good deals or truly interesting products and will listen to a sales pitch on something they care about, and ignore the stuff they aren't interested in.

Re:DVR (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354665)

My technique is somewhat different, as my mantra is "I will not be advertised at". When I begin FF-ing through commercials I look away from the screen, such that only my peripheral vision sees it. Usually what little I can see of the screen is enough to tell me when I've gone far enough, especially in the case of animated shows like the Simpsons, where the colors/brightness are very different from that of the advertising. I'm usually right on when I resume the show. Occasionally I'll miss a second or two of the show, and rewind if anything important was happening, and on very rare occasions I'll see a fractional second of advertising, and have to curse as I FF past it again.

This way I am exposed to none of the toxic crap they're trying to impress into my consciousness. I'm not in the least interested in having product or brand awareness built in my mind.

Commercials? What commercials? (3, Insightful)

jbarr (2233) | more than 7 years ago | (#19355215)

Our habits were similar until we built a SageTV [sagetv.com] system. Now, it goes something like this:

1. After a show completes recording, ShowAnalyzer auto-scans the recording for commercial breaks and flags them. This process completes within about 2-3 minutes of the completion of the recording.

2. We watch the show with SageTV's ComSkip plugin enabled, and when a commercial break begins, playback just jumps forward to the marked end of the commercial break, resuming the show content. It's slicker than snot.

3. Should we want to watch commercials, we either temporarily disable the ComSkip plugin, or we just FF or REW into the marked commercial section.

And the auto-marking is 's amazingly accurate--probably 98% accurate. The combination of SageTV + ShowStopper + ComSkip plugin gives us very successful commercial marking. No, it's not perfect, and sometimes shows get mis-marked, but it's very rare.

Other home-brew DVR's like MythTV and BeyondTV have similar capabilities.

And when we want to do something else (food, bathroom, phone, etc.) it's just a simple press of the Pause or Stop buttons

Commercials are not evil. Forcing us to watch them is.

SageTVTips.com [sagetvtips.com]

You know why? (1)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354319)

Because people have trained themselves for years to go get a drink during commercial breaks.

Re:You know why? (1)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354547)

That explains my alcoholism. Every year when they make more and longer breaks I make more and stronger drinks.

Re:You know why? (1)

VWJedi (972839) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354803)

Unfortunately, I have the opposite problem. I need caffeine to stay awake when watching TV at night, so by the time the show is over, I'm so wired I can't sleep.

Then I watch the first 10 minutes of another show, get hooked... and the cycle repeats until it's time to get ready for work.

And then there's the weekends...

Re:You know why? (1)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354993)

I am tired all day but come evening I'm wide awake. It's frustrating. At least my spontaneous TV-watching can only go so far since I have broadcast-only reception. At 1 AM I'm not going to download a show just because I'm having trouble falling asleep and the only thing on TV is infomercials. I just need to keep avoiding the on-demand web TV shows. That could get out of hand easily.

Re:You know why? (1)

VWJedi (972839) | more than 7 years ago | (#19355145)

Well, with digital cable and DVR I'm lucky that I ever get to sleep!

For Shame! (5, Funny)

CheeseburgerBrown (553703) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354351)

Those of you who skip commercials are aware, I hope, that you're stealing television?

Being entertained is a privilege, not a right.

I mean, sure, you paid to buy the TV. And you pay your cable or satellite bill. And you bought the PVR along with the embedded fees for the various artists' unions. But, other than that, it's like you commercial skippers are trying to get something for nothing.

It's time to ask yourself what Jesus would do.

It's time to take some responsibility: if you enjoy quality programming, the onus is on you to not only watch the adverts but also to act on them. That's right: those commercials are worthless unless you exercise your obligation as a consumer to actually buy something.

So, what's our tally? Buy your TV, buy your PVR, line the pockets of the artist unions, pay for content delivery, watch the ads, act on the suggestions made in the ads -- now you're entitled to some entertainment.

Sadly, there's nothing much good on.

Re:For Shame! (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354641)

It's time to ask yourself what Jesus would do.
  1. Wave his hands and the annoying ads would miraculously disappear?
  2. Transmute water into wine, so that no one would care about the ads?
  3. Stop watching television and go out and change the world for the better?

Re:What would Jesus do? (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 7 years ago | (#19355719)

It's time to ask yourself what Jesus would do.

That's simple. Set the controls to block all violence, cursing, adult situations, etc and foreget it as there is nothing on except "BLOCKED CONTENT".

Really, you have to ask "What would Jesus do?". I think he would be too busy to waste time not talking to people in person. Somehow I just can't picture him kicking back in a recliner and flipping on The Simpsons.

I also strongly doubt he would have cable, satelite, a PVR, or even a TV.

You did bring up a beef I have.

Being entertained is a privilege, not a right.

I mean, sure, you paid to buy the TV. And you pay your cable or satellite bill.


Cable TV was originaly billed as advertisement free. You paid directly for the privilage of commercial free TV in place of advertising sponsored TV. Cable providers pay a premium for content to provide. In the contract they must carry the commercials with a few local commercial breaks for local market advertisement insertions. That is why you not only get National Ford commercials (Time Magazine, Sports Ilistrated) you also get local car dealership advertisements. My beef is since there is so much sponsorship, why is a cable bill so expensive? If it is so expensive (I buy content) why is it so jam packed with sponsor messages?

It got so bad I dropped subscription TV when basic went from 6.95/month to 12.95/month. The prices have never come back and I have never come back. I found life much fuller without mind deadning least common denominator suggestive situation comedy. Internet has replaced TV. We finaly picked up a HDTV (we watch a lot of commercial free (no interuptions) videos. I put up an antenna so we can get the local DTV, but we rarely watch it. If I want the news, I grab the laptop instead. I don't have to wait for the news and I can dig further into a story if needed. TV is for local news.

After I build a Myth TV box, I will probably watch more TV as I could then record NOVA and other shows I simply forget to watch when they are on. So even though I don't have a DVR yet, I would have to agree with the article bacause I would go from watching less than 2 hours of TV a week to more and in the process I would be exposed to advertisements I simply don't even have on now.

Myth TV just got easier to build and configure for newbies.
http://www.mythpvr.com/mythtv/distribution/mythdor a/4/install-1.html [mythpvr.com]

Re:For Shame! (2, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#19355875)

It's time to ask yourself what Jesus would do.

Scream "That magical box has tiny people inside!" in aramaic and run away?

DVRs can help commercials (1)

acomj (20611) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354441)

I have on 2 occations while fast forwarding through the adds, seen something interesting (a concert/performance I didn't know about) and rewinded it to watch get the web site.

Granted it hasn't happened often, but if the ads are something your actually interested it the DVR allows you to go back and check out.

So true about BSG, SG-1, other "geek" shows. (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354457)

Geeks love tech. Geeks love sci-fi. But a lot of geeks also break the mold of the shutin nerd with no social life. Friday nights have traditionally been "family nights" (TGIF comes to mind) when the programming generally skews younger because the family with kids is actually home watching TV. If you gear a show in the 18-35 range, generally we're not at home Friday - you're competing against movie openings, bar nights, shows, poker games, etc. So is it really a surprise that all us tech loving geeks are the biggest group recording shows for later? Moving BSG to Sunday was a good move, and Sci-Fi should do it with the rest of their "prime" content if they want better live ratings.

Re:So true about BSG, SG-1, other "geek" shows. (1)

Viper Daimao (911947) | more than 7 years ago | (#19355569)

I've been thinking the exact same thing for years. I loved the SciFi friday night line up of SG1, Atlantis, and BSG, but damnit, Fridays from 7-9pm? Are they trying to get me to never watch it? The first thing I did when starting me new job and moving out on my own after college was get a dvr so I could actually watch these shows without having to download them all the time.

I don't know much about nielson and tv ratiings but they simply must somehow take into account dvr viewing when making their ratings or else they will be continually move and more distorted by the publics increasing use of dvr technology.

Surprise, surprise! (1)

jsantos (113796) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354517)

Well, surprise, surprise. If you count the people who view the commercials during original broadcast plus the ones who watch them on a DVR it's more than the first group alone. Wow, arithmetic truly is wonderful.

Re:Surprise, surprise! (1)

VWJedi (972839) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354893)

If you count the people who view the commercials during original broadcast plus the ones who watch them on a DVR it's more than the first group alone.

Well, that was not the case twenty years ago.

Wow, arithmetic truly is wonderful.

Didn't Donald Duck learn that when he went to Mathmagic Land?

Re:Surprise, surprise! (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19355283)

The headline of this story really is misleading. The truth is, DVR's are still hurting ad viewership, just not as much as if all DVR owners skipped 100% of ads. In other words, it's an "increase" only over worst-case assumptions.

Ads == (bathroom) or (beer) or (snack) + break (2, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354591)

Ads serve the same purpose when live or recorded. It's time to get up and get something or do something. Yeah... it means people are recording the ads and yeah, it does mean the ads should bring more revenue. Now STOP trying to mess with our home recorders!!!

Voting System (4, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354623)

This is all nice and good, but what I'd like to see is a voting system for TV ads. Digital cable, satellite, PVRs... they all allow some type of feedback, why not implement a voting system so you can vote ads up or down.

That way, annoying ads would be voted down (companies would stop paying to show it) and fun/good ads would be voted up (companies would know what style works).

Maybe add a third option to let them know they're showing it too often. Sometimes I like some ads but they appear so often as to become annoying.

Re:Voting System (1)

RRRobotHouse (949354) | more than 7 years ago | (#19355717)

I have been thinking about this too when I'm listening to my XM radio. I think this could work if the results were hidden. It would be awful if the voting ended up in a Digg-like structure.

How sustainable (3, Informative)

btempleton (149110) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354677)

Yes, I have noticed that many DVR users, perhaps call them "less sophisticated" ones do not always FF over the ads.

However, we MythTV users don't FF over ads, the skip is instantaneous. The system makes judements, about 95% accurate
over where the ad bounds are. When an ad is coming up, it says "3 minute commercial break" in a pop up and you push
a key to skip it. If it has guessed wrong on the length that's usually obvious, and of course it's obvious on the
start. With technologies like this, which the studios have sued to keep out of PVRs, there will be few who don't
skip the breaks, or who even notice interesting ads and rewind to watch them.

Re:How sustainable (1)

draos (672972) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354739)

I have an old ReplayTV with autoskip (before the advertising lobby pushed for its removal) that works like MythTV - I sometimes forget that commercials even exist.

Re:How sustainable (1)

Lurker187 (127055) | more than 7 years ago | (#19355817)

FINALLY! People are talking about "FF" and "skip" like they're interchangeable, but they're not. I've used both, including the ReplayTV auto-skip feature mentioned above, and I could not STAND using a Comco$t/Motorola DVR without the 30-second skip. I did quickly find a way to program the 30-second skip into my Harmony programmable remote, which I can't recommend highly enough, but even then, it only made it barely tolerable. Compared to the ReplayTV's auto-skip being right a large majority of the time, and the rest of the time hitting 3+Skip to skip ahead 3 minutes at the start of a break, even the Comco$t DVR with 30-second skip became a drag, and I returned it well before I kicked Comco$t to the curb.

As for those who actually find commercial breaks useful for the break (as opposed to the entertainment value of some commercials), you're missing the point of owning a DVR. You make your own breaks whenever you want. We pause most shows multiple times in our household, to talk about the show, to talk about unrelated things, for ingestion/excretion, etc.

Someone mentioned before that it may take people a while to catch on to the fact that they can skip or FF commercials. However, many content providers like Comco$t are promoting intentionally crippled or less user-friendly show navigation on purpose. The commercial DVR market hasn't taken off as fast as many people thought it would because of this, and now with ReplayTV dead and TiVo on life support, I think we're going to see a growing dichotomy between the DRM'ed DVRs provided by content-providers and the geeks building their own HTPCs.

Dear Advertisers (2, Funny)

Fritz T. Coyote (1087965) | more than 7 years ago | (#19354715)

Be sure to note that DVR users not only watch the ads, but /.ers that use DVRs have been known to upload your ads to the web and share them with friends. So be sure to buy lots of ad time on the shows /.ers like to watch. Thank You.

Off-Topic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19355253)

With billions of dollars in ad spending at stake -- 2006 upfront sales were about $9 billion -- networks want to make sure that every ad viewer is counted.

$9 billion in ads divided by $300 million viewers in only $30 per viewer per year. I pay a - modest - $40 Dish bill each month. Were I to calculate the cost of viewing ads - were it a "job" - I suspect that, being generous - that time is worth $0.50 per full hour of commercials viewed.

Not to bitch and moan, but it may be helpful for media execs to keep in mind HOW VERY LITTLE is gained by huge takings of freedom.

My experience (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 7 years ago | (#19355303)

I have Sky Plus (not HD, though; my eyesight is so poor I can barely see 625 lines, and that's already a bit Monet-esque; so what am I going to do with another 465?). I do generally skip the adverts. However, maybe about one advert per hour of programming will catch my eye and I will rewind it to watch in normal speed. Not that I'll actually go out and buy the product being advertised, though.

Other times, I'll simply let the advert break run through but without actually watching, because I'm taking a leak / feeding the cat / answering the phone / skinning up / whatever else I used to do in advert breaks before Sky Plus; but I don't have to be so careful to return in time for the start of the programme proper, because I can just rewind it.

I suspect this is what's actually happening: the recorder lets you not have to be there dead on the end of the break, because you can just rewind if you missed the start. Anyway, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter how many people see your advert. All that matters is how many people buy your product.

My DVR habits (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#19355543)

I typically see 5 seconds of the first commercial, 1-2 seconds of each commercial in between and the last 20 seconds of the last commercial 2 or 3 times unless the skip lands perfectly. Sometimes- very rarely, that 1-2 seconds will pull me in. Recently these were for: New Movie Ads, Geico Commercials with the gecko and with the cavemen (tho I'm a solid Allstate customer since they give me great service and rates- of course I've never filed a claim yet in 27 years).

If I "watch" the commercials then that means either I'm out of the room, petting the dogs, or asleep.

I'll go a step further... (1)

Maltheus (248271) | more than 7 years ago | (#19355573)

...and say that DVRs actually help the advertisers.

Before them, my mind was trained to tune out commercials because I was so sick of them. If I couldn't tune it out, I developed a very negative opinion of the companies advertised. Remember those Taco-Bell "drop the chulupa" commercials that aired twice every commercial break for every show for over a year? I haven't been to a Taco-Bell since. I'm actively not trying to boycott them, that was simply the result.

However, whenever I now see a commercial, it's new and fresh to me. I even sometimes find myself intentionally watching commercials in the same way that superbowl commercials fascinate so many. Novelty turns me on and repetition turns me off. That's just how I'm wired regardless of how many marketing types chant "repetition works" over and over.

Use VideoReDo to watch first couple seconds of ads (1)

SpecialAgentXXX (623692) | more than 7 years ago | (#19355885)

I record all of the broadcast shows in HD and use VideoRedo to put in markers at black frames. Those are the ones usually between the show and each commercials. When I go to cut the ads, I usually jump to each marker and watch the first couple of seconds of the ad. If it's interesting - i.e. the HD ads cost more money to produce and look better than regular SD ads - I'll watch the rest of the ad. The AT&T and Toyota Yaris HD ads come to mind. Old Navy's summer bikini SD ads also catch my eye. However, a lot of ads are aired more than once during the show, or at least many times on the networks during the shows I like to record. So I will watch the ads, but usually only once. But, since I've seen them before, when I see only the first couple of seconds, the whole ad pops back up in my mind.
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