DVR Owners Don't Skip All Ads — At Least When Participating In Studies

from the crazy-for-coupons dept

When they’re not lamely and incorrectly complaining about massive revenue losses due to ad skipping or trying to ban skipping altogether, advertisers and networks have struggled to create new ways of reaching DVR users. Usually the plan takes one of two forms: make ads even more intrusive and annoying, or make ads more interactive to simulate the medium they’re losing out on, ie, the internet. Neither of these approaches have had much luck. But there is a glimmer of hope. A study has found that DVR owners are just as likely to respond to ads tempting them with coupons as non-DVR owners are. In the study, a set-top box blinked during an ad when special offers were available for that product. Viewers could remove a memory stick from the box and plug it into the computers later on. To be sure, study participants might have been influenced by knowledge of the promos, or maybe by just being thrilled to participate, a la the Hawthorne Effect. However, it does seem to show that people (even those who own DVRs) might pay attention to ads more when they are relevant and interesting. Ads work even better when viewers can proactively indicate they want the ads, not when ads are dressed up like web content or forced on viewers who don’t want them.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “DVR Owners Don't Skip All Ads — At Least When Participating In Studies”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
TJ says:


This constant alarm about commercial skipping reminds me of all the drama about online ad “impressions” versus brand identity. For a time advertisers only wanted to pay for ad clickthrus, until they remembered that just putting your brand name in front of eyeballs repeatedly still had value.

I have two TiVos, I use 30 second skip, and I love it. I don’t watch ads for tampons, male ‘enhancement’ products, or a hundred other things I’ll never buy. But even with 30 second skip one will see blips of the commercials, and I rewind to check out ads that look interesting. The first ad and the last ad of a block have more value because commercial skippers are likely to see more of them. But this was true before, since people often were in the john or kitchen during the middle of a commercial block anyway.

And DVRs can offer useful new ad methods. Being able to CHOOSE to hit “Thumbs Up” during certain ads to have product information mailed to you, or to painlessly schedule a recording of a new show being advertised, that’s kinda cool (and I mostly despise advertising).

One recent ad run for the 2006 BMW had a thumbs-up icon flag to easily record a 30 minute show about BMW history and the car. The show turned out to be awful, but the method was interesting. With increasing broadband saturation I can see such an extended ad being downloaded on-demand over the ‘net if the viewer requests it, to be watched later at the viewer’s convenience, particularly extended trailers for movies and new TV shows.

Imagine… A device that can let viewers really learn more about products they’re interested in, while helping the advertisers know which ads are effective based upon the amount of interest shown. To not see that as an opportunity rather than a problem, these companies must be in deep denial.

thecaptain says:

No Subject Given

Personally, I am getting a little sick and tired of these marketting and advertising companies growing insistance that I *HAVE* to watch these ads.

I’m sick of being force fed pablum sacharine crap about some more “new & improved product” (does that phrase even MEAN anything by now?) whereever I go, whatever I do, whatever I watch.

When is someone going to realize that we’ve reached the oversaturation point. I can’t be the only one.

On a related note: I wonder how many words and phrases have become totally meaningless because of advertising (“new and improved” or “the best” or “quality” or even “pro” come readily to mind).

Ivan Sick says:

Re: No Subject Given

Captain: word up brother.
Now: it seems that all these people are freaking out because disc technology makes it easier to do the things that people have ALWAYS done. Fast forward buttons were around before TiVo. Tape recorders were in wide use before CD burners. But now that digital consumer electronics are the default, and skipping and copying content are faster and easier than before, everybody’s doing it. Used to be you had to be smart to be a timeshifter, now anybody with $300+$12/month can do it. And everybody who is doing it is skipping the commercials. Seems like commercial skipping is dictated by human nature (or something.) Are they doing it to SPITE advertisers? Hell no, they do it because they don’t WANT to see stupid commercials. This puts advertisers in the role of teachers assigning homework, or parents forcing vegetable consumption before dessert. Aren’t avertisers supposed to make you think the product is fun or useful, and therefore something you want to know about? If they could do that, people wouldn’t skip commercials [as much]. But they are failing so, like everyone else in today’s world, they will complain and try to make a legal issue out of it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

I think this whole discussion is a bit ridiculous. Why are ads inserted into the middle of a TV show? Because people want to watch the show and not the ads. If there was a way to make ads more interesting so that people would elect to watch them, surely, this would have already happened. TV has been around for quite some time, and yet, as it turns out, ads usually aren’t that interesting and the only way to have people watch them is to make them. Otherwise, there’d be an hour of ads scheduled every evening, and people would tune in by the trainload. But there’s not.

Just because it would seem like it’d be nice if this were an opportunity for the advertisers to offer more “targeted content” or whatever, doesn’t mean that there actually is. There’s a chance we all know better than the people who actually went to school to learn advertising and made careers out of it and there’s something we all see about how they should do business that ALL of them are too stupid to catch on to. But I think there’s even a better chance that that’s not true and there is no way to make people watch ads on TV if you don’t force them. Honestly, which is more likely? Come on, we’ve all seen commercials. No one really wants to watch them. It will always be that way, unless they’re made entirely out of porn.

I know I will always skip commercials on my TiVo, even on the off chance one of the ones I skipped is for a product I actually care about. I don’t want to buy anything today, I just wanna watch the show. I assume 95% of the people are like that, as well. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe it’s only 75%. But that’s still not enough for there to really be any disguised opportunity here for the advertisers, it’s only a problem for them.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: No Subject Given

Considering that the majority of people now watch the Super Bowl for the commercials, it seems that your point that no one wants to watch commercials isn’t quite true…

As for the issue of the “evolution of TV advertising” somehow having reached its perfect peak, I’d question that as well. TV commercials worked in the past because you had a captive audience. There was no way they could get around the ads. Now people can, so ad execs need to learn how to adjust.

Changing marketplace means the producers need to change as well.

Ivan Sick says:

Re: Re: Re: No Subject Given

Of course no one wants to watch ads. My point is less “The advertisers need to make ads more interesting if they want us to watch them” and more “The advertisers need to quit their bitching and moaning when the public refuses to watch commercials.”
Targeted ads suck harder than regular, non-targeted ads if you ask me. The targeted ads are generally longer, more intrusive, and are frequently shown to a captive audience.

thecaptain says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

I really wouldn’t mind seeing commercials on the following conditions:

1) There were a whole lot LESS of them. (as it is, a 30 min show is actually only 18 mins. That’s ridiculous). MAYBE 10 for a full hour…at the extreme, I’d prefer 6-8.

2) Along with #1 that commercials be TRUTHFUL and not the “bend the truth in a knot to fool the consumer while following the letter of the law” truthful b*llsh*t you see today…but actually meaningful information about a product and why the company feels it is a good thing for ME to shell out money for it. The upside is that MAYBE we’d ACTUALLY get better products rather than a cheap knockoff of something with a “pro” or “quality” slapped on its name.

3) Advertisers: stop treating people like idiots (granted these days most behave that way)…example, when you have product testimonials, make them with ACTUAL PEOPLE like it used to be…don’t use actors (especially not some who are recognizable extras from many movies I’m familiar with) and portray them as actual consumers.

If these conditions were met, I’d be the first to promise to never miss a commercial.

Quality over quantity is a motto that advertisers have sadly forgotten.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...