Personal video recorders not all about ad skipping

LONDON – The TV ad industry is not facing death by personal video recorders as ad-skipping is found not to be the main reason why consumers love PVRs, according to research.

Although PVRs are best known for their ad-skipping abilities, people actively choose to watch those spots they consider entertaining, a study of PVR homes by research company Essential Research reveals.

The study argues that the picture of the PVR user as a control freak who determines completely what he watches and when is an exaggeration. The amount of time-shifted viewing differs greatly between households.

Control freaks do exist, the research says, but they are outnumbered by convenience seekers and series addicts. Convenience seekers value their PVR for its ability to manage conflict and interruptions and are relatively low time-shifters. Series addicts value the ability to manage their addiction to their favourite series, be it 'Lost' or 'Desperate Housewives'.

PVRs allow viewers to record an entire series of a programme and watch it at their leisure. Ideal for the new series of 'Lost' for instance, which started last night and ran for three hours across Channel 4 and E4.

Essential Research says that series addiction will grow, meaning that marketers will increasingly face a battle to encourage viewers to watch new programmes.

Most users do not use PVRs to create their own TV channel, as predicted by media analysts, because of apathy, household politics and a lack of forward planning.

However, there are signs of "enormous latent demand" for video-on-demand, not least because this will remove the need to forward plan.

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