DVR Users Zap Fewer Ads on Cable Than Broadcast

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TiVo users who watched time-shifted cable shows skipped 51% of the commercials in October 2008, while broadcast commercial skipping hit 64% for the month in 2008. 

That’s according to the latest report from the DVR company’s StopWatch ratings service, which aggregates data from 100,000 subscribers for 66 cable and broadcast networks.

Still — the glass is half empty, if viewers are zapping half the ads.

At BBC America, for one, the situation may be even worse than the broadcast average. Network chief Garth Ancier, at an industry conference last month, said just 30% of his network’s ads are viewed on a time-shifted basis, if that.



“Commercial-skipping is severely threatening the economic model,” he said. “This is our biggest challenge…and this is frankly what is killing the broadcast networks as we speak.” 

Another finding from TiVo’s StopWatch for October is that cable networks had sizeable year-over-year growth in viewership for total and time-shifted viewing, while broadcast declined. That ran counter to some recent trends in TiVo’s data showing broadcast networks received a primetime lift in year-over-year viewership while cable lagged.

Cable Program/Commercial Viewership Lift — October 2008 Year-Over-Year Comparison

Program rating YoY change

Commercial rating YoY change

Commercial avoidance, Oct. 2007

Commercial avoidance, Oct. 2008

Total

10%

9%

20%

21%

Live viewing (5-second interval)

7%

8%

6%

5%

Time-shifted viewing

15%

13%

49%

51%

Source: TiVo StopWatch

Broadcast Program/Commercial Viewership Lift — October 2008 Year-Over-Year Comparison 

Program rating YoY change

Commercial rating YoY change

Commercial avoidance, Oct. 2007

Commercial avoidance, Oct. 2008

Total

-12%

-11%

37%

36%

Live viewing (5-second interval)

-12%

-11%

4%

3%

Time-shifted viewing

-13%

-11%

65%

64%

Source: TiVo StopWatch

Cable networks included in the comparison are: A&E, AMC, Animal, BET, Bravo, CNBC, CNN, Comedy, Court (TruTV), Discovery, E!, ESPN, ESPN2, ABC Family, FNC, Food, FX, HGTV, Lifetime, MSNBC, MTV, Nickelodeon, Oxygen, SciFi, Spike, TBS, TNT, Toon, Toon Disney, USA, and VH1.

The broadcast networks are: ABC, CBS, CW, FOX, NBC, and MyTV.

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