Do DVRs Decrease TV Ad Impact

Time shifted lately?

If you’re anything like nearly 60% of US TV watchers you probably have. Time shifting is the futuristic sounding term for using a DVR to record a program for later viewing, watching a program online, cable/satellite on demand services, or subscription on demand services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, or HBO Now.  Who among us has not faced with the dilemma of having two (or more) programs you like airing at the same time and having to choose? Time shifting technology solves this by providing the flexibility to watch programming at our leisure. It should also change the way advertisers decide where and when to place TV advertising. Initially, giving viewers the ability to fast forward ads via the DVR or almost skip them entirely through cloud and on-demand services were a concern for marketers who primarily advertise on television.  But, studies have shown that the availability of this technology has not decreased live television viewership. There has been evidence that it can impact show ratings, which is why Nielsen has begun including this data in their TV ratings (learn more about Nielsen ratings here).


Ultimately advertisers increase the likelihood of being seen during live programming than in time shifted ones, so consider this for a more effective TV ad campaign:

  • Almost a third of weekly TV viewing is recorded content after the original air date.
  • Time shifted content is overwhelmingly viewed within the first 7 days of airing: 95% of broadcast, 93% of cable, and 91% of syndicated programs.
  • Programming like sports and news are primarily watched live. So are special event and annual broadcasts (i.e. awards shows, presidential debates, Olympics.)
  • However, live viewing is higher for cable and syndicated programs than for broadcast.
  • Half of TV viewers default first to live TV, before opting for recorded content.

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