To mark this milestone we've reviewed research around the digital television recorder (DTR), also known as the PVR or DVR.
When Sky+ launched, the media world's assumption was that if the technology existed to skip ads then that is what viewers would do, and that they'd reschedule their viewing to suit themselves. The reality is that social and behavioural factors take precedence over technological capabilities. In other words 'just because you can, doesn't mean you will', which is a useful consideration in an era of rapid development in high-speed broadband, mobile devices, video on-demand and connected TVs.
Sky+ is now in over 9 million homes. Timeshifting (content played back within seven days of broadcast) accounts for 15% of overall viewing in DTR homes (source: BARB 2012). Timeshifting in DTR homes has remained consistent at around 15% of all viewing over the last six years. For the UK overall, timeshifting accounts for 10% of TV viewing (BARB 2012). Advertisers are not charged for fast-forwarded ads or those seen
In terms of age, the keenest timeshifters are youngish, i.e. 25-34 year olds and more broadly 16-44 year olds. Propensity to timeshift declines with age after the mid-30s. The mid-to-upmarket are more likely to timeshift than the mid-to-downmarket. Women use timeshifting more than men. Drama series and soaps are by far the most
timeshifted genres, which we would surmise is largely due to regularity of viewing and the ease of 'series linking'. 40% of the viewing of drama series/serials in Sky+ homes is timeshifted.
Sky+ has revolutionised our ability to control TV viewing. But, to coin a phrase, our TV viewing has merely 'evolutionised'. We may now possess amazing TV viewing
control, but overall we watch more TV and we still regard TV viewing as primarily a social activity. The media industry has learnt that where technology and behaviour meet, social considerations override technological capabilities. Just because consumers can do something doesn't mean that they will.
In tandem with the take-up of DTRs, people are watching more and more live or 'as live' TV ads per day than ever before. This is true for all audiences, be they young, upmarket, male or female. In 2006 the typical adult in a DTR home saw 33 ads a day; in 2011, it was 46. Confounding our initial expectations, DTR research from the last 10 years shows more TV viewing rather than less, and greater programme loyalty. Instead of extensively rescheduled viewing, viewers prefer a high proportion of live viewing.