Ok, TV Execs Have Stats On DVR Users… So, Now What?

from the ah,-the-difficult-questions dept

We reported late last year that Nielsen was finally going to start releasing stats concerning DVR watchers, and when they actually watched recorded programs. While there have been some questions about how big the sample size of DVR-watchers really is, a much bigger (and better) question might simply be what does the data mean? It appears that, so far, no one really knows. While it may be a good thing to have the data on how many people watch shows within a day or a week of the original airing, no one’s quite sure what that means when translated into ad sales negotiations — meaning that everyone’s going to try to spin it to their own benefit, while having no real idea what’s important and what isn’t.

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 “Ok, TV Execs Have Stats On DVR Users… So, Now What?”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
David Bradley says:

DVR as a stepping stone

I think DVR’s are just a stepping stone to on demand programming. A fair bit of money could be saved if “broadcasters” were removed from the mix.

Essentially I would subscribe to various series through a provider. I could choose to view it with or without commercials depending on how much I was willing to spend. I’d be able to watch the series at my liesure, much like the DVR’s afford us today. And DVR’s might be part of this technology as well. Downloading episodes when available.

The biggest benefit of this over the current DVR’s is that I pay for what I watch. I’m not paying $50 a month to watch 500 channels that maybe I use 10 of, and probably only watch a small percentage of the programming on those channels.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: No Subject Given

Let me get this straight, you already reported Neilson was gonna release DVR ratings, and now you’re reporting: “What will that mean? We don’t know.” What was the point of this article?

I love it when people tell us what we’re not supposed to write about. 🙂

As for the point, isn’t it fairly interesting that Nielsen made such a big deal over adding DVR info, and now everyone is saying they have no idea what to do with the info?

Mark says:

let me be the first...

to draw the comparison between companies compiling stats on what you watch on t.v. versus the government asking search engines for search criteria. The only difference I see is that the cable/satelite providers know exactly who you are and are free to sell that information to whoever they want. Whereas, the government was only asking for search criteria with no personal information attached. Am I the only one to notice this?

Nick Burns (profile) says:

Nielsons and VCRs

We were a Nielson family for about 2 years. We had 3 VCRs, 1 of which was a TV/VCR combo. We watch a LOT of TV and because of our setup the tech was basically out to our premises every other week for the first 2 months, trying to get the right data transmitted. We found out that what they tracked was when the channel was watched (we don’t have cable/satellite/etc). So if we were recording 3 shows and watching a 4th, to their system, it looked as though we were watching 4 channels simulataneously. Then when we did actually watch those other tapes, the only thing their system saw was that were watching a tape rather than any TV. It didn’t know whether that tape was a previously recorded show or a movie. I don’t see why this would be any different with DVRs.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: No Subject Given

They just want to bend you over the barrel then proceed to screw you over by making more mindless crap that people “watch” when you leave the PVR on over night, and you yanks have to pay for your personal video recording privalges other than for the set top box, you are getting screwed royally then

Feldmarschal Von Tivo says:

Re: No Subject Given

Quote from Anonymous Coward:
“I don’t see what good this data would do them when people will just fast forward or skip the commercials anyway. Who cares if 50 million people watched your show if no one saw the commercials…

Unless they’re going to try and push more product placement in their shows “

Product placement is the way to go. Get rid of commercials all together. I think the entire idea of commercials is dreadful. Sure it’s nice to get up and get a drink at a commercial; but, with a DVR you can just hit pause. Axe commercials and go with product placement! Cheer for product placement!! 🙂

Mike says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

How are they going to do product placement on say the new Battlestar Galactica or other Sci-Fi shows where Earth isn’t around? I say make all media except PBS pay, get rid of the censorship and let people pick what they want to watch or hear.

The DVR argument is the same as the VHS one was. I know that I have rarely seen a commercial since I got the HDDVR. We purposely start watching shows 30 minutes after they start so we can skip all the commercials. That’s assuming we don’t have anything queued up in the DVR playlist.

bob says:

Re: product placement or commercials

I don’t see what good this data would do them when people will just fast forward or skip the commercials anyway. Who cares if 50 million people watched your show if no one saw the commercials…

Unless they’re going to try and push more product placement in their shows

I’ve found that commercials often aren’t skipped when watching the TiVo in my house. We’ve had the TiVo about a year now and the family just isn’t used to skipping the commercials yet. About 1/2 way into a commercial break someone might remember, but more often than not we’ll forget until the end of the show. That doesn’t mean we watch the commercials. We still use them for other stuff and only pause if breaks go beyond commercial time. (at which point we remember we can skip the things and promptly do so next break)
so, there’s a few generations of ingrained behavior that need to be rewired.

Product placement and tiered payemnt of commercials/no commercials is a good way to go as well.

Hersh says:

I've been dreading this

I’ve had this fear that the only reason companies still advertise on TV is because of habit. And that if they ever got concrete data to show that people aren’t watching their commercials, they’d all stampede away from television and go dump their advertising budgets somewhere else–somewhere where we can’t avoid the message so easily with a fast-forward button.

Can you imagine if say 50% of the billions spent on TV ads went online–to spammers, pop-ups etc–the internet would become a total pain-in-the-gazoonga. Not to mention many of our favorite TV shows might get cancelled if the studios don’t quickly learn to find other content outlets.

Why can’t we just keep the fact that none of us watch TV commercials anymore a secret, for a couple more years, until Steve Jobs and those other guys figure out how to get us our Battlestar Galactica episodes for free online (not that I pay when using bittorrent).

ted says:

fast forward

I probably fall into the average who fastforward 70% of the time. In that event I usually catch the first few seconds of the first commercial (grabbing the remote) and last few of the last (rewinding to show’s re-entry).

When fast forwarding I do pay more attention to the images in between. The screen has my full attention as I need to know when to stop (and back up).

I think smart advertisers are starting to take advantage of this by using large print and more stable images that can be recognized during fast forward. If I were an advertiser I would also want to be placed at the beginning or end of the break rather than in the middle.

I don’t think this changes the viewing “attention” on the ads much from live tv as I feel I’m actuall giving more attention albiet for a shorter period. Advertisers just need to be cognizant of how more and more people will be “seeing” their ads and design them for best recognition.

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...