DVR users not fast-forwarding past ads

Survey shows viewers still watch about two thirds of ads

TV viewers in the US watching shows using a digital video recorder still watch most of the ads shown, a new study has shown.

As digital video recorders (DVR) have been getting increasingly popular over the past few years, advertisers feared the impact the devices would have on viewer's exposure - or lack of it - to their commercials.

But new research from the Nielsen Company shows that even though DVR viewers have the option of fast-forwarding past ads, they still watch around two thirds of adverts on average.

The reason, Nielsen said, was that many DVR viewers still tune in to watch about half of their shows at their scheduled start time, meaning they must sit through commercials.

But even when people watched recorded shows later, many were not fast-forwarding through the ads. On average, Nielsen found, DVR owners watch 40 per cent of commercials that they could skip over - perhaps because they like ads, don't mind them, or simply can't be bothered.

"People are actually playing back more of the commercials than we thought," said Steve Sternberg, director of audience analysis at ad-buying agency Magna Global Media Research , told the New York Times .

As it was previously thought that people with DVRs didn't watch ads, advertisers - spending a total of $70 billion last year - haven't been paying for time-shifted viewing. Now they might be forced to by networks.

The Nielsen research did not show which DVR owners were more prone to skip ads, although it found that younger people generally skip more commercials and time-shift more of their viewing than older people.