Once a novelty, the digital video recorder is now in 38 percent of U.S. homes, and its increasing popularity represents both a blessing and a challenge for the TV and advertising industries. On the one hand, DVRs enable TV networks to hold on to viewers who use timeshifting to watch their favorite shows when it is convenient for them and who might otherwise seek alternate ways to watch programming – or not watch at all. On the other hand, DVRs allow viewers to skip content that doesn’t interest them, including commercials, potentially undermining TV’s longtime ad-supported business model. In its latest report on DVR usage, The Nielsen Company highlighted a number of key findings, including:
- Viewers do watch commercials on their DVRs. Among DVR homes, playback lifts commercial ratings by 44% among 18-49s after three days. Among all 18-49 year-old viewers DVR playback adds 16% to commercial ratings after three days
- More than 38% of DVR users are over age 45.
- When DVR playback is included, DVR households watch more primetime programming than non-DVR households.
- Overall, 49% of time-shifted primetime broadcast programming is played back the same day it was recorded, and 88% is played back within 3 days.
- DVR playback peaks at 9pm and 10pm.
Download the full report DVR Use in the U.S.