Ad Avoidance and The DVR : recent study results
One of the topics looked at in a recent study with special interest was the whole issue of ad-avoidance, not least because half the sample have the technology to avoid ads altogether, via the DVR.
In fact, one overwhelming conclusion from this study is that the DVR is used to enhance program viewing, not to avoid commercials. As a range of studies conducted last year found that PVR owners actually watch more commercials at normal speed as a result of owning the DVR. This is because only 12 per cent of their viewing was to time-shifted material (much less for younger respondents) and around 40 per cent of the commercial breaks were watched without fast forwarding. At the same time, owning a DVR appears to increase broadcast TV viewing by around 15 per cent, mainly to commercial channels, resulting in an increase in the number of commercials viewed. It is counter intuitive, but it is true, and has been supported by studies from BARB, Sky and the London Business School. The DVR is an advertisers friend!
‘Skipping’, or fast forwarding, does occur, but even the households who claim to skip most of the time only skipped ads for a small proportion of their TV viewing. Whether it is because they are aware of the short length of some breaks, they just forget they are viewing in time-shifted mode, or because they want to see the ads (quite often people fast forwarding would rewind to watch an ad that caught their eye) there seems to be no massive desire to edit out the ads.
Decades before the DVR was a glint in the eye of the electronics companies, people would often claim to leave the room when the ad break started, to make a snack or attend to some vital chore. In our study, several respondents claimed to always get up and do something else as soon as the program credits rolled. Again, the reality does not match their claims. Even the most adamant only left the room two or three times during the four hours of their that breaks we recorded and, in total, less than 5 per cent of breaks suffered.