DVR viewers play catch-up quickly

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While more viewers are recording programs with their DVRs, they’re actually not delaying viewing for very long, according to a recent analysis conducted by Palisades MediaGroup.


The study discovered that, on average, more than half of all DVR primetime program playback is done within the same day it was recorded. And by the end of the following day, DVR owners have completed approximately three-quarters of all program playback.

While DVR penetration appears to be growing at a rapid pace, its usage isn’t making a significant impact on ratings. “At least not yet,” says Susie Thomas, SVP/Director of Research and Insights at Palisades MediaGroup. “Nielsen estimates DVR penetration to be at 20%, up from 12% in January of this year. While this is a good-sized increase, the impact on viewership remains minor.”

According to the study, ratings increase just over 15% due to DVR playback from live to live-plus-seven. The average rating against adults aged 18-49 was 2.5 for live viewing and 2.9 for live-plus-seven viewing; an increase of only 16.7%. While fast-forwarding through the ads is still an issue, not all people who use a DVR fast-forward. The data show that less than half of people who watch a recorded program fast-forward through the ads during playback.

Equally significant, the top 10 most-DVR’d primetime shows among adults 18-49 experience as much as 58% of playback on the same day (CBS’s Survivor: China) and as little as 27% (CW’s Reaper).


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Carl has been with RBR-TVBR since 1997 and is currently Managing Director/Senior Editor. Residing in Northern Virginia, he covers the business of broadcasting, advertising, programming, new media and engineering. He’s also done a great deal of interviews for the company and handles our ever-growing stable of bylined columnists.