Even with the explosion in DVRs, the technology is not having as much impact on ad-viewing as once feared -- at least according to a study by Palisades Media Group. A survey by the Santa Monica,
Calif.-based media shop finds that more than half of prime-time programs recorded were played back the same day of recording and, by the end of the next day the shows aired, about three-quarters had
been viewed. Further, time-shifting can actually increase viewing.
In the study, conducted this fall, less than half those watching DVR recordings say they fast-forward through ads --
perhaps meaning that DVR use does not significantly impact ratings. "Nielsen estimates DVR penetration to be at 20%, up 12% in January of this year," says Susie Thomas, director of research and
insights for Palisades. "While this is a good-size increase, the impact on viewership remains minor." She adds that while there are program-to-program fluctuations, "overall DVR usage is not
dramatically cutting into live viewing."
Among the top 10 programs most likely to be shunted to DVRs, "Survivor: China" measures as high as 58% watched on the same day of airing, vs. 27% for "Reaper" on CW. She notes the survey should be welcome news for advertisers atwitter about time-sensitive commercials for movie debuts and holiday sales. "While as many as 55% are playing the program back the same day, only 20% have a DVR in the first place."