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Anytime Is Prime Time for Online Shows; DVR Ad-Skipping Up

Guess what time it is?
Time-shifting time.

Nearly 80 million Americans (43 percent of the online population) have watched* a favorite TV show online, up from 12 months ago when that figure was just 25 percent, according to a study (pdf) by the Solutions Research Group, reports MarketingCharts.

20 percent of online Americans surveyed watch TV online every week — ahead of the 14 percent who say they utilize cable's video-on-demand offerings. Among households with a DVR and broadband, DVR is the preferred means of "time-shifting," the study found.

Moreover, DVR users are becoming more aggressive in skipping commercials: 65 percent say they "always" skip commercials compared with 52 percent a year ago. (See chart of those saying they "frequently" or "always" skip.)


The findings are from the quarterly Digital Life America tracking study, which interviewed 1,150 Americans age 12 and older in November 2007, to take advantage of the fall sweeps with its strong first-run prime time content, and capture a realistic picture of multi-platform TV viewing.

Other findings:

  • "To watch a specific show" was the main reason cited for 21 percent of all visits to major network websites in November 2007.

  • Of the major network sites, received the highest-user experience score among those who streamed a TV show, with 52 percent rating their overall experience as "excellent," followed by (44 percent "excellent").
  • Top major network TV shows viewed on the internet included Heroes, Grey's Anatomy, Dancing with the Stars, Ugly Betty, Chuck, CSI and House, Kitchen Nightmares, Smallville and Gossip Girl.
  • Those who had viewed one of the leading 20 prime time shows in the previous 24 hours (titles such as Grey's Anatomy, House, Survivor-China and 17 others) were asked to identify the source of viewing:
    • Overall, 25 percent of prime time viewing was time-shifted using a DVR, broadband, mobile or similar.
    • Among viewers 18-34, one-third (34 percent) of viewing was time-shifted.
    • And among 18-49 households with a DVR, a remarkable 55 percent of the leading 20 shows were time-shifted.

About the data: The Digital Life America 2007-Q4 Edition study has a special section exploring the evolution of TV viewing.

The results cited are based on a survey of 1,150 online Americans aged 12 and older in November 2007 using a professionally managed panel representative of the US online population by age, gender, region, and ethnicity.

*The study fails to specify whether 43 percent of the online population watched a complete episode. Comparative studies mark the figure much lower amongst the adult online population, typically around 10 percent.

The editor credits Kevin Horne for pointing out the lack of clarity.


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