The DVR Kidnappped Six Million Primetime Viewers

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News Posted: Mon, May 12 2008 7:34 AM

Your Digital Video Recorder might not have found Sarah Conner yet, but it seems to be responsible for the disappearance of six million primetime TV viewers since last May. Some of the miserable ratings of this year's crop of primetime shows could be laid at the feet of the writer's strike, but that really can't explain the whole number. It's starting to dawn on the TV industry that there's no such thing as primetime anymore.

...the more significant shift can’t be blamed on the strike. In the past television season, there has been a sharp increase in time-shifting. Some of the six million are still watching, but on their own terms, thanks to TiVos and other digital video recorders, streaming video on the Internet, and cable video on demand offerings. So while overall usage of television is steady, the linear broadcasts favored by advertisers are in decline.

The mystery, then, is what the networks should do now.

Brad Adgate, research director of the advertising agency Horizon Media, said that advertisers were paying attention to the changes.

“Part of the reason why advertisers buy television is because of its immediacy,” Mr. Adgate said. As more consumers time-shift their viewing, “there becomes less of a difference between ads in magazines and ads on television.”

To a TV viewer, the idea that a TV ad would be comparable to a magazine ad is no big deal. But that's a death sentence to the revenue model for TV programmers, who have been able to charge an enormous premium for ads shown during "must see" television entertainment. If they can't assemble a prime audience in real-time that can be measured, they can't sell ads for a premium.

Listen, none of you readers tell anyone at the TV studios that on top of not watching what they offer at the time they want us to watch it, when we digitally record television programs, we skip the ads completely on playback. That doesn't seem to have occurred to them yet, and it'll break their little hearts.

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Lev_Astov replied on Mon, May 12 2008 10:25 AM
lmao Nice closing statement. Digital delivery is where it's at. I already watch more than normal TV anymore.

><((((">Lev Astov

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Maybe if a 42-44 minute show didn't have 16-18 minutes of commercials more people would be willing to watch them on TV?  When you watch a show on, for example, you only get 30 second commercial breaks.  If you DVR it, the commercials can be skipped.  If you Download (DL) it, hopefully someone got rid of commercials for you.  It's just natural to NOT want to sit through that crap.  Besides, VCR's have been around for decades now and the industry has delt with it.  If anything, I'd say it's DLs more than DVRs.


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digitaldd replied on Tue, May 13 2008 6:08 AM

streaming will be affected by some of the new plans ISPs have for download caps.Didin't comcast just announce a 250gig monthly hard cap where if you go over it you pay extra. As someone who spent a week travelling for work and had to pay a hotel on ametered charge by the megabyte I can tell you you don't realize how much data you transfer until you have to pay on a metered scale. Just checking work email for an hour a day on vpn and checking critical systems ate up close to 2 gig a day. Now add all the extra stuff you do with your home connection RSS subscriptions to video/audio downloads, filesharing [maybe], add your usual blogroll or whatever. Just loading the main page of some sites pulls down 2-3 megs, now read a few articles. hell misconfigure any apps that use RSS and they can check for updates to a feed too often , lets say the rss feed is a few hundred kilobytes and your rss reader is checking it every minute for updates? it adds up fast don't it?


well DVRs and media centers don't get affected by the bandwidth caps, but I've been wondering how much info the networks get from cable as to who's watching what when..

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