Monday, May 14, 2007

How are PVR's affecting TV Networks and Advertising?

If you've followed this weblog, you know I'm a big fan of Home Theater PC's and therefore Personal Video Recorders (PVR's). Other than with sports, my family rarely watches any shows live. My wife, daughter and I tend to wait for at least 15 minutes after a show has begun before watching so they can skip over the commercials - even for reality programming. This is made easy with BeyondTV because it has built-in the ability to detect the commercials of a recorded show. So you can skip the detected commercial simply by hitting the channel-up button on your remote. Because of this, my family simple does not see most commercials on television today.

I think our TV watching habits are becoming more of the norm now that so many TV watchers have a PVR of some kind be it a Tivo, Cable box DVR, or an HTPC PVR.

How is that affecting the TV Networks and TV Advertisers?
1. More product Placements and advertising somewhere on the screen during a show.
2. Reality TV and Sports Programming are becoming more-and-more important to the TV Networks and their advertisers.
3. The Networks and Advertisers are struggling over how to measure the who is watching what and when they are watching it. Even more important to them is who is watching the commercials?
4. Internet-Streamed Content has a chance to become mainstream. Providers like Joost are getting tons of attention from the content providers. One of the main reasons for this is they control the commercials shown on your TV. No skipping commercials or striping the commercials from shows.
5. Syndication of reruns are becoming less valuable. With DVR's, you already see all the shows you want to. No need to see a rerun of a show that you missed from earlier in the season.
6. Advertisers are simply not going to pay TV networks as much for commercials because the audience watching those commercials is quickly shrinking.

For a great overview of the current environment as the TV Networks are seeing it, check out Aaron Barnhart's article in the Kansas City Star newspaper editorial called Television, the case of the disappearing viewer
Aaron Barnhart is a writer for the KC Star (my local newspaper) and also has an excellent TV - blog called TVBarn.