Nielsen has reported that consumers watch between 40% and 50% of commercials during DVR playback. This is up from between 30% and 40% from previous reports. More people are watching their favorite TV shows by using DVR and more are watching the commercials. It was once feared that as viewers use DVRs they would fast forward through all the commercials and essentially kill television advertising. But that has not proven to be true.
DVR penetration in America hovers around 40%, which is a 90% increase in the last couple of years. It is also interesting that Nielsen reports that 42% of playbacks occur within the first hour of the show’s original airing and 61% occur within the same day. And this is why Nielsen argues that an accurate reporting of the number of viewers watching commercials should include those who watch them on DVRs within the first day of the original airing. As might be expected, the large majority of DVR playbacks come from younger, higher income viewers.
So it seems apparent that even with the increasing prevalence of DVRs in consumers’ homes, television advertising can still be very effective. There are large numbers of people watching television programming when it airs and even those who DVR their favorite programs, almost half of them are still watching the commercials. Certainly, the TV audience has eroded somewhat. But what mass media hasn’t seen a decline? Television still delivers a very large audience. Although it is more fragmented than ever, the viewers are still there. Even with its challenges, television advertising can still be very effective. It remains a very viable and effective medium. With strong creative and a compelling message, television advertising still delivers.