Over half US TV shows are time-shifted

Imagine being stranded on a desert island with no way to fast forward through ad breaks

PVR manufacturer Tivo today revealed that the five biggest season premieres on US TV this January all attracted over half their viewing on a time-shifted basis.

The two biggest shows - ABC's Lost and Fox's 24 - only had about a third of their viewers watching live - the remaining two thirds catching up with the show hours or days later.

TiVo rating data is derived from a daily, aggregate, anonymous, stratified random sample of 100,000 TiVo subscribers - from which the second-by-second "clickstream" of behavior and viewership is collected and assessed.

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The DVR company noted that about 30 per cent of people time-shifting popular shows shifted their viewing by an hour or less - suggesting that they are only doing it to avoid watching the interminable commercial breaks that plague US network television.

Most of the rest of time-shifters catch up with a show within a day of its broadcast time, with the remaining 15-25 per cent watching it later that week or not at all.

More people tuned to watch brand new programmes - like Lie to Me starring Tim Roth - with only around 40 per cent of people time-shifting series premieres.

Tivo also tracks which adverts are more or less likely to be fast-forwarded through. It found that the least fast-forwarded brands were Bud Lite beer and movie trailers for Taken, Pink Panther 2 and He's Just Not That Into You.