Friday, May 05, 2006

Skip this

Several reports out this week about the impact that personal video recorders could have on the advertising industry, with the latest giving a gloomy picture.

Earlier this week, the ad industry got to hear what it wanted to hear when it comes to personal or digital video recorders (DVRs) namely that the news was not as bad as first expected and that the TV ad industry is not facing death by DVR.

That piece of research found that ad-skipping was not as rampant as some had feared. It said that ad-skipping was not the main reason as to why consumers love DVRs.

Really? I feel impoverished not having, it (Telewest haven't got around to rolling it out and changing to Sky involves too much effort), and was reduced to taping a programme using my old VCR the other night.

It was the first time I had used it in close to two years. It wasn't even plugged in -- cue much fracking around with Scart cables and plugs. Later, when I came to watch the programme I had to get up off the couch and press the fast forward button by hand (remote long since lost/broken), but I still did this rather than suffer ad minutage (don't get me wrong I like good ads, I just don't want to watch them at home).

So really if you have a DVR and you can skip straight through the programme you are watching at the press of a button, ask yourself are you going to do it? Are you? Of course you are.

The research earlier this week claimed that people would actively choose to watch spots they consider entertaining. Maybe, but once, but after that? Face it most finance/detergent/coffee/food ads are not really that entertaining. Quite the opposite.

So out comes another piece of research from JupiterResearch that says that DVR ad-skipping could cost the TV ad industry $8bn. That isn't wiped out by any means, but it is a hell of a kick in the teeth.

Jupiter found that 53% of US DVR owners used it to skip ads and if those that do skip did it all the time (and why not?) it would equate to the loss in 2006 alone of $8bn out of the total of $74bn spent.

Last year research put the ad-skippers at much higher level saying that nine out of 10 users fast-forwarding through ads.

The $8bn talked about is high considering that penetration still has a long way to go (in the UK less than 10% of UK adults now have a DVR in their home). Look again 18 months or two years down the line when penetration has picked up and that figure might well have more than doubled.

That really would be bad news.

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