Nielsen: DVR's Increase amount of Time People Spend Watching TV

--Company Launches VOD Measurement Service

Audience measurement company, Nielsen, recently announced that its
research shows that DVR playback is actually increasing the amount of
time people spend watching TV: by comparing total TV usage (live
viewing plus DVR playback) for 18 to 49-year-olds in November, 2007
to total TV usage in November, 2005 (before Nielsen measured DVR
households and when, the company says, DVR penetration was very
low), the company says it found that viewing had increased slightly
throughout the day, and was 3% higher at 9:00PM and 5% higher
between 11:00PM and midnight.
The company says that these findings
have implications for primetime viewing levels in the future, because,
as the number of DVR households in the US grows, DVR primetime
viewing levels will likely rise as well.

Nielsen says its research also shows that the traditional primetime
period (8:00PM to 11:00PM) is expanding, because people are
watching shows they recorded later the same evening. In fact, the
company claims, by creating their own "personal television schedules,"
viewers are pushing primetime as far back as midnight. Nielsen says
that DVR playback peaks between 9:00PM and 10:00PM, with 11% of
18-to-49 year-olds in DVR households playing back recorded
programming on their DVR's, while between 11:00PM and midnight
7% of that demographic are playing programming back. "Consumers
are increasingly making time-shifted viewing an important part of their
overall television experience, and are beginning to change traditional
TV models," Patricia McDonough, Nielsen's SVP of insights, analysis
and policy, said in a prepared statement. "DVR playback has added to
TV usage, particularly during the most watched hours of the day, as
viewers take advantage of their ability to watch their favorite shows
according to their own schedules."

Nielsen also says it has identified three distinct groups of DVR users,
based on how much they time-shift:

  • Heavy Shifters, who are primarily middle-income women, aged 18 to
    49, and who record and playback nearly 26 hours of television (i.e.
    around half of their TV viewing) per week. 18-to-34 year-old males are
    least likely to fall into this group, the company says.
  • Medium Shifters, who watch somewhat more television than the
    average person and about a third of whose viewing is time-shifted.
  • Light Shifters, who account for nearly 70% of all persons in DVR
    households and who watch less television than the average viewer.
    While the most likely to own an HD television set (their incomes
    generally exceed $100,000 a year), they spend only around 10% of
    their television time viewing time-shifted programming, watching
    shows they otherwise would have missed.

According to Nielsen, time-shifting is not evenly distributed by genres
of programming: most viewers prefer to watch news, sports and movies
live, the company says, while general dramas, such as "House," "Grey's
Anatomy" and "Heroes" account for one-third of time-shifted content.
Other types of programming that are heavily time-shifted include talk
shows, soap operas and reality TV shows, the company says.

In other Nielsen news:

  • Earlier this year, the company commercially launched a new
    measurement service that aggregates and anonymously reports on VOD
    usage, based on real-time transactions collected at the set-top box level.
    Dubbed NORA (Nielsen On Demand Reporting and Analytics) and
    offered as part of Nielsen's DigitalPlus service, the new Web-based tool
    also provides integrated data sets from other Nielsen measurement
    services, including Nielsen EDI and Nielsen VideoScan. The new
    NORA offering is intended to complement Nielsen's existing
    panel-based National People Meter VOD Audience Measurement
    service. Comcast is the first MSO to sign up for the new service,
    providing it with VOD data and using it to analyze trends in VOD
    usage, based on such factors as programmer, program distributor,
    program category (e.g. if the program is free, part of a subscription-
    based premium programming service, or offered on a pay-per-view
    basis), and box-office revenue. According to Nielsen, by providing
    set-top box-level data on actual VOD selections, NORA will enable its
    clients to interpret VOD viewing trends, as well as analyze the impact
    of VOD usage. Nielsen says it is also working on the integration of
    additional data sets into NORA, such as those from Nielsen Media
    Research, Claritas, ACNielsen Homescan and Nielsen Online.
  • The company recently signed a deal with Charter that will see the
    latter supplying it with anonymous, aggregate minute-by-minute set-top
    box data from around 330,000 households in the Los Angeles area.