Studies show that even when viewers watch their favorite shows on their DVR, many of them are watching the commercials.
Many thought the coming of the DVR was going to be the end of television advertising or at least seriously affect its effectiveness. It makes sense, viewers will record their favorite shows to watch at a later time and when watching, skip through the commercials. But that has not necessarily proven to be the case.
Bill Carter, in an article published in the New York Times on November the 1st, cited Nielsen in stating that 46 percent of viewers 18-49 years old are watching commercials during playback. And considering that because of DVRs, the viewing audience of many shows, has actually increased, advertising effectiveness and has not taken the hit many predicted. Not only can viewers watch their favorite shows when they first appear, they can now record the show and watch it whenever they wish. This has caused significant increases for many programs.
Two years ago, Nielsen started using the “commercial plus three” ratings which measured viewership for commercials in shows that are watched live or played back on VCRs within the next three days. This resulted in shows like House increasing its ratings almost 18% and the Office viewership increasing 26%.
DVR penetration has increased to 33% of American households and what was thought to be a death knell for television advertising has not proven to be the case at all. Even though it’s counter intuitive, almost half of the people using their DVRs still watch the commercials. Carter quotes Brad Adgate, senior vice president for research at Horizon Media, in referring to television watching, “It’s still a passive activity”. Apparently viewers watch television when using DVRs just like they do when they watch it live. They watch leisurely and passively, taking in the commercials rather than making the effort to fast forward through them.
This is valuable information for hospital marketers who have relied upon television advertising to build and promote their brand. It means television advertising is still effective and is not eroding as quickly as many feared.
Television advertising still works. And the good news is that it works long after the programming has aired.