I remember when my family first got a DVR; I was a young teenager with two very frugal parents. However, when the cable company offered a free trial, my dad bit the lure and after a few months we were hooked.
Even as a kid, I remember hearing the buzz about how DVR would ruin the television industry and take away from the advertisers. Surprisingly enough, data from Nielsen and the Video Advertising Bureau report a different story.
During the first quarter of 2016, time-shifted programming (recording television and watching it at something other than the original air time) has dropped 12% among viewers 18 and older.
For years, estimates had been that viewership would be roughly 50/50 between time-shifted programming and live programming. However, data from first quarter 2016 shows that 77% of viewing is done live while only 23% comes from DVR viewing.
Other demographics have seen a decline in DVR viewing as well. Those aged 50-64 have dropped 6% while people 65+ have declined 7%.
So, why aren’t people watching as much prerecorded television shows as they used to? After all, it does give you the power to fast-forward through all those commercials. Perhaps the industry is simply shifting. One theory is that the rise of digital media is to blame.
In my mind, this is great for advertisers. Most digital streaming video has opportunity for advertisements without the ability to fast-forward.
Fear not! Viewers are still watching television and they’re still watching their DVRs. Advertisers can still reach their audience during shows; it just might be through their laptop or smartphone screen rather than on “the tube”.