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Television Media

DVRs Help Some TV Shows Improve Ratings 297

Posted by Soulskill
from the we've-only-been-telling-them-that-for-a-decade dept.
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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DVRs Help Some TV Shows Improve Ratings

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  • by BobMcD (601576) on Monday November 02, 2009 @03:00PM (#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: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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.

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        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.

      • >>>I switched from myth to a commercial DVR because there isn't a cheap/easy way to do encrypted HD

        What is this "encrypted HD" of which you speak? I don't think we have encryption on U.S. broadcast television. It's all broadcast in the clear. (For that matter what's HD and DVR?) (shrug). (reaches over to press pay on Super VHS). My CRT has never looked so good

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by jedidiah (1196)

          He's talking about cable.

          Cable for the most part in the US is 100% encrypted. You might luck out and
          have a local landline monopoly that doesn't encrypt all of their interesting
          channels. For the most part, you are going to need an HD-PVR (1212) from
          Hauppauge if you want to record something like Sci-Fi, History, Discovery or
          HBO.

          On the one hand, it's $200 for each recorder.
          On the other hand, it compresses everything to h264 which is very useful.
          On the 3rd hand, you end up with 720p/1080i h264 recordings that a

    • by Sparr0 (451780) <sparr0@gmail.com> on Monday November 02, 2009 @03:14PM (#29953446) Homepage Journal

      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.

      • 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.

        • by bughunter (10093) <bughunter AT earthlink DOT net> on Monday November 02, 2009 @04:14PM (#29954308) Journal

          Well, if the TV Execs and advertisers were smart (I know, I know, we're talking about TV Execs and advertisers, but bear with me), they'd tailor the commercials to the viewers and design their ads to be effective when viewed by someone with a "30-second skip" feature, who will probably only see a few frames of the commercial, randomly phased within the 30 second window.

          There are things you can do, like make sure your logo is prominent throughout the length of the commercial, or keeping a hot, scantily-clad female in the frame at all times so that male viewers will back up to watch the whole thing.

          I swear, some commercials are doing this already. I predict that in 10 years, all TV commercials will be either static billboard-type ads, or softcore porn vignettes with heavy product placement.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Thing 1 (178996)
            First time I saw a fast-forward-tailored commercial, I was using a VCR as my DVR back in the mid-90s. It was a Volkswagon Beetle commercial. The background was a slowly rotating flower, and there were words in the middle of the screen. I, fast-forwarding, got the entire message they intended to convey. I was very impressed.
    • by Absolut187 (816431) on Monday November 02, 2009 @03:20PM (#29953518) Homepage

      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.

      • by jonbryce (703250)

        There is this thing called the pause button which you can use if you want to go away and do something without missing the show. It has the benefit that you don't have to keep looking to see if the ads have finished yet, and if it takes longer than you expected, or the ad break is shorter than you expected, you won't miss anything.

        • by calzones (890942) on Monday November 02, 2009 @05:38PM (#29955416)

          There's two kinds of viewers: those who are going to mute/skip/walk out/ignore/avoid commercials, and those who don't and the same person can be either or both depending on different factors.

          Trying to mandate watching commercials is bound to fail. Those who don't want to watch them will go to whatever lengths necessary to avoid them. You've already lost their eyeballs so forget about them, you never had them even before DVRs.

          The audience you need to target are those who either enjoy commercials or are not actively avoiding them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Nielsen tracks the data the same way they've always tracked it - 4000 homes are selected in 210 different cities/towns, and their viewing habits tracked. The only difference is instead of saying the television was "tuned to NBC" or "tuned to FOX", it will say "tuned to DVR" and which program was being watched.

      • by RobDude (1123541) on Monday November 02, 2009 @05:16PM (#29955084) Homepage

        ^^^ This.

        I've recently jumped on the streaming media bandwagon. I setup the scheduler in uTorrent and downloaded the newest version of TED. Now my PC seeks out new episodes of the shows I want and downloads them during off-peak hours. Then I've got Tversity or whatever it is acting as my UPNP server. Each TV has it's own media receiver.

        One side effect of this setup is that the TV shows I've downloaded don't have commercials. At first, I saw this as a good thing. But, after the first few shows, I realized I *missed* the commercials.

        Some TV watching, I think of as a 100% attention activity. Think 'really good movies' - you don't want interruptions. You don't want any distractions. No talking to your wife, no running to the kitchen to check on dinner, no talking about what is happening in the movie or what you did at work that day.

        But then, some other TV watching - most of the TV watching I do...it's more laid back. The TV is on, but I'm also working on the laptop or cooking dinner or whatever. Commercial breaks give are a welcome interruption. It gives my girl and me a chance to make funny/witty/ remarks about the show we're watching or to talk about other stuff or to get up and check on dinner or to grab a coke, or to run to the bathroom, or to do whatever.

        It sounds stupid - but I prefer the commercials for a lot of shows that I don't much care about.

        The 'pause' button is an option but then you've got *zero* content on the TV. Commercials are more entertaining than nothing. I like them in certain situations.

         

    • by vivek7006 (585218) on Monday November 02, 2009 @03:28PM (#29953648) Homepage
      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: (Score:3, Informative)

        by BobMcD (601576)

        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.

    • by ArbitraryDescriptor (1257752) on Monday November 02, 2009 @03:40PM (#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.
      • 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ResidntGeek (772730)

          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.

          Sorry, advertising works.

          Also please stop raising the decibel level when a commercial comes on, that is really annoying.

          Sorry, loudness works.

          Is "Network Execubot" really a properly respectful form of address for someone so much smarter than you?

      • by BobMcD (601576) on Monday November 02, 2009 @03:57PM (#29954050)

        I'm glad you stopped by. Your cousins in the music industry weren't as thoughtful nor as considerate. Should you not wish to enjoy the same fate they are currently facing, please allow me to suggest you adapt.

        You may want to find a way to collect revenue streams at the content level, perhaps from the cable company who gets a fairly large chunk of my household budget each month. You may want to incorporate advertising into your programming.
        You may want to do any number of things that I have not yet thought of yet.

        What you do NOT want me to do is to turn off my television set because it isn't worth the electricity it uses and the cost of keeping it up to the most recent level of 'D'. With World of Warcraft, Youtube, Slashdot, streaming Netflix, and many other popular internet-based time sinks at my disposal, your job and your millions are very much at risk. I can already consume a lot of content that does not annoy me with advertisements about vaginal cleansing products and there is already little you can do to prevent it.

        In short, I am all you have left, and I am hanging by a string. Try not to piss me off.

        Thanks, and best of luck to you!

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          In short, I am all you have left, and I am hanging by a string. Try not to piss me off.

          I think you have me confused with a Network Execubot, like your friend Mr. Orca. I am a Broadcast Marketing Execubot. I don't care which network I use; and I don't care how they get viewers. I just pay the one who has the most people who will look at my fine advertisements. Discerning, principled TV viewers like yourself are a statistical anomaly; easily replaced by the hordes watching reality/game shows.

          By not watching ads, you don't hurt the advertiser. You hurt the network. When a show's ratings

      • If you want me to watch your advertising, just add topless actors.

        'k thanks.

        Actually I do see a lot of your ads, like now when I'm surfing the net and the TV is playing live. I cannot skip live video.

    • by dj_tla (1048764) *

      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 i

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by BobMcD (601576)

        I could have explained how it works, sorry about that!

        1) Myth records the show
        2) It flags the commercials by scripted job
        3) Hot keys (and/or the automatic setting) jump between flagged sections.

        Unless something went wrong in step 2, there is zero frustration. Often times the show fades out and right back in without interruption at all.

        The cost for this is the time to do the flagging. I have to watch today's shows tomorrow if I want it to work. That isn't much of a problem for me, but it might not work fo

    • I typically catch 15 to 20 seconds of the first commercial, 1 to 2 seconds of intermediate commercials, and the last 10 seconds of the last commercial (2 or 3 times sometimes).

      Sometimes, if I see an interesting looking commercial (like Jack in prison with a relative or one of the Geico commercials or a new movie commercial) then I'll back up and watch it.

      However, even if I sat there and didn't skip- my mine literally tunes out on commercials (and has for a decade). You could ask me 15 minutes later what co

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

      There's your mistake. Most people don't watch TV like you do. As a matter of fact, their brains are hardly engaged at all. TV is a way for them to turn OFF their minds. That's why they don't even notice when a commercial break starts.

  • 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 encour

    • 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: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by langedb (518453)

      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.

      • by jridley (9305)

        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.

      • 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: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by easyTree (1042254)

      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.

    • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Monday November 02, 2009 @03:09PM (#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: (Score:2, Troll)

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

        Yeah. You might want to keep that to yourself.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MBCook (132727)

        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 o

        • by powerlord (28156)

          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.

          As a TiVo user, I like that when watching the latest episode of HOUR_LONG_SHOW, I can finish in about 45 minutes if I skip the commercials.

          If you become an "Avid

      • I think this is a good point. I'm not using a DVR these days, but when I was, I would often fast forward through ads, but not always. It was actually pretty common for an ad break to start and for me to not think very much of it. The ads would play and I'd watch them. Sometimes I was half zoned-out or working on my laptop, but sometimes I just wasn't thinking about the fact that I could fast forward. But I would more or less watch the ads until a particularly annoying one came on, and *then* I would sn

    • 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      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 interruptio

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        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.

    • 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, che
    • by Alrescha (50745)

      "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)

    • by syousef (465911)

      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

    • by Obfuscant (592200) on Monday November 02, 2009 @03:57PM (#29954048)
      I don't understand why those with PVRs still watch the ads.

      Because you miss all the irony if you skip them. Like ads for Carl's Jr. or Jack in the Box during exercise shows.

      The very best one was last night. Premiere of "Sex Addict Rehab With Dr. Drew." A facility full of sex addicts, men and women, models, rock stars, and an "adult video star". Not a single one of them sexually attractive in any way, but they're all sitting around talking about having sex with each other. The "adult star", knowing shes going to a facility to treat her addiction, tried sneaking in a dildo she called "Ron Jeremy", and a pair of knee-pads. Epitome of skank.

      The major advertiser? Trojan. Not for condoms, but for women's mini-vibrators.

      I don't know if it was sad or funny.

  • Really? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mr.Fork (633378) <edward.j.reddy@g m a i l.com> on Monday November 02, 2009 @03:02PM (#29953266) Journal
    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? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Monday November 02, 2009 @03:20PM (#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: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Cro Magnon (467622)

        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.

      • 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.

    • by Artraze (600366)

      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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wizardforce (1005805)

      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.

  • 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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by elrous0 (869638) *
      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.
  • but are they really? (Score:3, Informative)

    by wizardforce (1005805) on Monday November 02, 2009 @03:04PM (#29953310) Journal

    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: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fahrbot-bot (874524)

      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.

  • by CyberLord Seven (525173) on Monday November 02, 2009 @03:06PM (#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! :)

  • 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.

  • watching commercials (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BigHungryJoe (737554) on Monday November 02, 2009 @03:08PM (#29953364) Homepage

    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.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 02, 2009 @03:11PM (#29953408)

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

      • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

        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: (Score:2, Funny)

        by NoYob (1630681)

        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.

    • 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.

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

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Cro Magnon (467622)

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

  • by nick_davison (217681) on Monday November 02, 2009 @03:14PM (#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?!"

    • 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?

      • 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.

    • by BryanL (93656)

      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.

    • Except that only 45% of people (or less) give two shits about commericals. I don't think DVR is devaluing ad time, rather, it's revealing the actual value of ad time - the number of people who aren't tuning out their commericals.

      I'm not sure that DVR is burning down content provider's homes. It's more like doing an audit on a $250,000 home and discovering, due to structural damage, it's only worth $125,000.

  • 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.

  • 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

    • 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 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArcadeNut (85398) on Monday November 02, 2009 @03:21PM (#29953550) Homepage

    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..

    • by bughunter (10093)

      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 o

  • Not to mention... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cpattersonv1 (1664205)
    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 tha
  • my own experience (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rritterson (588983) on Monday November 02, 2009 @03:27PM (#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?

  • by businessnerd (1009815) on Monday November 02, 2009 @03:45PM (#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.

  • 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 netwo

  • ... 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.

  • Basically the challenge to the ad companies is that, in the age of DVRs, you need to adjust your ads to be 1. immediately recognizable and 2. worth watching in the first place. The Apple ads are brilliant in that it's basically just two people surrounded by white. This makes the ads immediately recognizable, even when the Tivo is in full fast-forward mode. Then the ads have to be worth watching; I'll skip the debate about whether the Apple ads are worth watching, but I personally find them very funny and wi

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