I find it fascinating that he and his friends actually like watching commercials. When my 80-year-old mother-in-law joins us at the movies, she, like my son, has seen most of the commercials (she watches a lot of live TV during the day, mostly syndicated morning talk shows and off-network repeats on ION or USA).
My son, of course, is largely correct. My wife and I DVR most of our prime-time viewing and fast-forward through the commercials during playback.
There are a number of reasons why we do this. For shows with continuing action-packed storylines (like “24 Legacy”), we like to store two or three episodes to watch in one sitting -- which means one or more of the episodes is viewed beyond Nielsen’s typical 7-day window.
Sometimes, my wife and I are not always ready to watch TV at the same time, so I’ll DVR shows we like watching together (like “This Is Us”) for later viewing. Typically we will watch these within a day or two of the initial broadcast. Sometimes there are series my wife doesn’t want to watch with me (like “Into the Badlands”), which I will record so I can watch when my wife is not available – I watch these anytime from the same day it’s recorded to a month later.
There are certain types of shows we tend to watch live, just like most DVR owners: sports, news, late night, award shows, and off-network repeats.
I often see data that shows DVR usage is not that significant across the entire day, accounting for less than 10% of total rating points. During prime time, however, it is massive, particularly for original scripted series. Consider that more than 40% of adults 18-49 or 25-54 still do not own a DVR. Despite this, the average original scripted series (on both broadcast and cable) has half its total U.S. audience through DVR playback. That means, on average, more than 80% of viewing of original scripted series among DVR owners is time-shifted.
And we know from virtually every study that’s
ever been done on time-shifted viewing, at least two-thirds of commercials are fast-forwarded during DVR playback.
That’s an awful lot of commercial avoidance — from these series’ core, most loyal viewers.
C3, C7, and the newly released 35 days of delayed viewing do nothing to deal with the issue of commercial avoidance. Nor do they do anything to help measure how much fast-forwarding is actually taking place. This should continue to be the biggest concern among TV advertisers and those who research or measure TV viewing.