Study Says DVR Hasn’t Changed Ad Effectiveness

May 10, 2010

95% STILL WATCH PROGRAMMING LIVE 

According to a Duke University researcher, DVRs have not hurt television advertising or changed consumers’ buying behavior. 

Some predicted earlier this decade that technology like TiVo and other digital video recorders – because they enable viewers to easily fast-forward through ads – would (eventually) kill television commercials.

However, Carl Mela, a professor in Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, says that the ability to skip through the ads has had no effect on buying behavior and that not as many people fast-forward through television commercials as originally feared.

“Companies are afraid of a ‘TiVo effect’ and are changing their media spending as a result.” said Mela. “But we find no change in people’s shopping patterns when we compare a group that has TiVo with a group that doesn’t. The manufacturers’ fears seem to be overstated.”

Mela credits the lack of impact to several factors: 

  • About 95% of people still watch television live and, as a result, cannot fast forward through the commercials.
  • Even those without a DVR can skip commercials by using the breaks to go to the kitchen or flip to another channel.
  • While viewers fast-forwarded through about 70% of the commercials in shows they recorded, they still watch the screen to know where to resume play, meaning they are still being exposed to the advertisements.
  • Ability to record a show and watch it later means consumers are watching more television.

 The study included households with and without DVRs.

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