DVR Owners Watch Less TV — Well, Sort Of — Okay, Not Really

from the tripping-over-the-numbers dept

Last Fall, TV networks moved to assure advertisers that DVRs weren’t the death knell of advertising, as among other things, DVR owners watched more TV than people without the devices. Now, a new study apparently indicates the opposite — that DVR owners watch less TV. Well, sort of, anyway: all the study seems to show is that DVR owners are less likely than non-owners to watch 45 hours or more of TV in a week. Furthermore, the study is reliant on interviews, with a good chance people underreported how much TV they actually watch. After all, nobody really wants to own up to watching that Buffy The Vampire Slayer marathon one day last week, followed by hour upon hour of Baywatch reruns. The networks say their research backs up their original claim that DVR owners do indeed watch less TV overall, something this new study — or at least its press release — doesn’t cover. But “DVR owners less likely to watch more than 44.5 hours of TV per week than non-DVR owners” doesn’t make for the juiciest lead, does it?

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Comments on “DVR Owners Watch Less TV — Well, Sort Of — Okay, Not Really”

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tehdirtaddict says:

What commercials?

I barely watch TV and when I do I mostly watch recorded programming on my DVR. I skip all commercials, I really dont pay attention to them, and I don’t care about them. If I want something I research on the web. Commercials push a product that I do not need or want.

I pay for the damn DVR service, I pay for the dish service, so why are the networks bitching about? I pay for the convenience already. I do not need to watch commercials.

Darin says:

What Advertisers should focus on

Consumers are getting more and more control over the advertisements that they are exposed to (i.e. do not call list, spam blockers, TIVO) so advertisers need to be proactive and create content that people want to see. Superbowl commercials are an example of how consumers actively seek out ads. The next step is to make sure the brand sticks in the consumer’s head given this limited exposure. TV should not waste time convincing advertisers that people do watch commercials, they should convince advertisers to create commercials that people want to watch!

Joe Smith says:

Dewey beats Truman

DVRs are owned by people who: (1) can afford them and (2) value their own time highly enough to spend money to get some flexibility.

Anyone watching forty five hours of television a week (6.5 hours per day) is not high income and obviously puts a very low value on their own time.

Faulty surveys with build in biases lead to wrong results – as in the famous “Dewey beats Truman” example.

I own a DVR, I watch about four hours of television a week but the DVR has not reduced the amount of TV I watch – it has probably slightly increased it. I use the DVR when I expect that my kids are going to interrupt me during a program I want to watch.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Dewey beats Truman

sure, it’s 6.5 hours in 7 days. people only work 5, so they can make it up on their days off. I work 40 hours a week, drive an aditional 10, do housework, and still manage to get in a good 40 hours tv time. as well as do other things. i keep myself busy, i multitask. when i’m watching CSI, i’m also doing laundry, cooking, cleaning….so there.

and you don’t have to be super rich to own a dvr. just about any tech savy teenager could build a great dvr computer for about 400 bucks. or hell, upgrade their existing comp for like 100-150 (cost of tv card and harddrive)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Dewey beats Truman

You forgot a market segment.

(3) DVRs are also USED (regardless of ownership state) by people who agreed to pay the 4.95$/month rental fee to get one straight from their cable company.

That demographic certainly trumps your lousy argument… Most people who would rent a box from their cable company tend to watch more (speculation mine) than someone who wouldn’t.

Oh and It does let them watch TV without having to feel sorry for themselves for paying too much money for a cute “Bloop, Bloop”.

Now who’s got the bias in their speculation?

DreadedOne509 says:

More is Less

I’m relatively new to the DVR thing, only had one for about 5 months now. Still not used to being able to fast-forward through commercials yet, so more often than not will sit through 4-5 of them before it hits me that I CAN fast-forward and by then my recorded program is showing again.

I watch less TV now for the reasons listed above, and the fact that I now plan ahead what I will watch a bit better. DVR has allowed me to better manage my leisure time both around TV viewing and other projects.

Viva La DVR!

Herbie says:


I don’t know what I did before the DVR. I would much rather watch a show via DVR than live. When I do finally sit down for the evening, I will try and watch something I have already recorded. If I don’t have anything recorded and there one of my shows is currently recording, I’ll go do something until it’s finished and watch it later.

I’ve also started to record shows that I haven’t watched because it came on as other shows I record.

I fast forward through 90% of the commercials. If networks are worried about us skipping adds, make commercials that will catch your eye in fast forward to make you stop and go back. I’ve done that before. Otherwise, use product placement.

Whatever he said says:

Advertisers should stop listening to TV execs, because TV execs are losing power fast — Advertising is in the midst of a revolution and needs to adapt.

Every household will use DVRs differently, but everyhouse hold will have one, just like every other good piece of technology.

My kids (12, 9, and 5) are figuring out that Tivo lets 3 of them share 1 TV, they are already skipping commercials whenever possible. They are growing up expecting efficient technology.

Regardless of how you use a DVR, in a few years we won’t know how we lived without them.

Expect advertisers to sneak into the programs you are watching more than ever, maybe even start their own networks. When the easiest way to advertise your product is to make sure characters in your favorite shows are seen using them, the balance of power shifts out of the TV execs hands, and into the hands of the producers.

And yes, you will still pay to watch advertising.

Kenn says:

TV vs. DVD

I used to hate TV, for one simple reason. TV doesn’t end. There’s always something on next.

I used to just watch the same DVD’s over and over. Then I got my Tivo, and now I can watch TV, because it ends. Then I can go do something else.

I probably watch the same amount of stuff, it’s just TV shows instead of movies. The advertisers should be glad I’m at least seeing their commercial at 3X speed instead of not seeing it at all.

Jeff says:

Faulty polling

This poll is so obviously flawed. In fact, this TYPE of poll is obviously flawed.

Serious couch potatoes are never going to be included in ANY poll or study.

They’re spending too much time watching TV, and not picking up the phone to talk to a pollster, checking snail-mail to fill out a survey, or logging onto the Internet to do anything. They’re just digging their paws into the bowl of Cheetos in front of them and nudging their fat elbows at the person next to them on the couch and saying, “HOLY COW ELMER ISN’T THAT WATERSKIING SQUIRREL SO GOSH DURNED FUNNY?!?!”

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