A little bit of good news and bad news for the beleaguered networks, courtesy of new DVR data from Palisades Media Group: The research firm says the vast majority of DVR viewing occurs on the same day the live programming aired. That means that DVR users who don’t skip the ads are seeing them when marketers hope they see them, which is good news for time-sensitive advertising, such as film releases or retail promotions.
That’s good news for the networks, who not only have to guarantee viewership for commercials as well as shows, but who have get viewers to watch them within three days of their initial air date — the so-called “C-3” standard. The networks (and Nielsen) initially pushed for a 7-day window, but according to Palisades, it’s not much of a problem, since 93.2% of all recorded viewing occurs within the first three days.
As an aside, this is at least the third study we’ve seen from research firms telling networks and advertisers not to worry about the DVR’s affect on their business. What does that mean?
The bad news is the networks can’t blame DVRs for ratings declines. DVR penetration stands at 20% of American households, and for some shows, it’s pretty clear that DVR viewing isn’t costing the networks any viewers: NBC, for instance, has several DVR-friendly shows that are hits, including “The Office,” “Heroes,” and “Friday Night Lights.” The trouble is, while those shows have strong niche appeal, they aren’t broad enough to boost NBC out of 4rth place.
The trick for the networks, finding something else to blame for ratings shortfalls. One politically sensitive option: Advertisers themselves, who don’t make commercials worth watching.
Questions for SAI readers: How long does it take you to watch the shows you’ve taped? And do better commercials convince you not to hit the fast-forward button on your remote?
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