Report: PVRs Will Change Agency Business

A leading TV research analyst says it's time for ad agencies to embrace the concept of PVRs and “proactive TV” as a revolutionary force in the media business.

“This is the first technology that provides a truly revolutionary experience for the consumer,” says Jennifer Choate, President of C Cubed. “PVRs (such as TiVo) offer a proactive environment. They allow consumer to plan for their TV viewership, not react to the programming served up to them. Agencies need to embrace this change because it will change the way they operate.”

Last fall the C Cubed report on consumer usage sold exactly one copy to ad agencies. This year, it has sold more, but Choate still senses an attitude that “proactive TV” will not impact the media planning and creative functions. Choate uses “proactive TV” as a moniker to capture PVRs, Interactive TV and other technologies that allow users to plan for their TV viewing independently of programmer schedules. This year’s version of the C Cubed PVR report shows some dramatic changes in the viewing habits of PVR homes.

First, more than 22 percent of the respondents say they never watch live TV. More than 65 percent say they watch more different kinds of programming and 63 percent say they watch more shows with their kids. From an advertising perspective, its no surprise that 20 percent of those surveyed says they never watch commercials. However, 80 percent say they watch commercials deliberately for entertainment and product interest. Thirty five percent are more likely to take an action after a commercial to get more information, such as go to a website.

“The more aggressive agencies understand this and they’re starting to test some new ad models,” says Choate. “Some are working with a split screen to provide more product information. Some are including interactive elements to communicate direct response offers.”

When do PVRs increase household share to a point where it immediately impacts the media business? Chaote says “not tomorrow and not this year.” But the driving factor will be the client who wants a TV campaign targeted as strictly as possible. “Then agencies will need to do their job better and PVRs will help them do that.”

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