The SanityPrompt

This blog represents some small and occasional efforts to add a note of sanity to discussions of politics and policy. This blog best viewed with Internet Explorer @ 1024x768

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Well Isn't this a Surprise?!

Ninety pct of DVR users skip TV ads - new study - Yahoo! News:

"LONDON (Reuters) - TV advertisers are facing a potential disaster as more consumers buy digital video recorders (DVRs), according to a new study, since about 90 percent of current users fast-forward through ads.
The trends are even more foreboding among the 18 to 34-year-old demographic most coveted by marketers, with 97 percent saying they skip ads all or almost all of the time.
'This has always been advertisers' biggest fear,' said Sarah Wade, a London-based account manager for the French market research firm Ipsos, which carried out a survey of 4,000 British TV households.
A previous study by media buying agency PHD found that viewers fast-forwarded through about 77 percent of ads.
DVRs, offered by companies like Britain's BSkyB and U.S.-based TiVo, save many hours of programs to a built-in hard drive, allowing users to pause live TV and fast-forward through advertisements.
The technology has yet to break through to the mainstream but it is steadily building a base of enthusiastic users. BSkyB, Britain's top pay-TV company, says about half of new subscribers opt for its Sky+ DVR, and cable companies are beginning to sell DVRs that are built into set-top boxes.
Only 6 percent of Britons own a DVR, according to the Ipsos study, but 35 percent of those without are interested in buying one. "


With changes in technology, more and more communications companies are going find themselves challenged in the same way that recording companies and broadcasters are today. Rather than respond with predatory regulation as each has -- broadcasters have tried to make it impossible for DVRs to skip commercials, perhaps it's time for them to rethink their business model in the same way that other industries have when technological change wrought economic change. After all, workers in this country have to do this every day. Perhaps it's time for broadcasters and cable companies to consider a la carte television -- allowing people to buy the programing they want to watch. Think of how clumsy it currently is to subscribe to cable television. If you want to get Fox World Sports Net, you generally have to pony up around $100 a month to get a broad ranging package with numerous channels you never watch. And most of these still come with ads. In the days of old, broadcasters discovered their customers were the corporate marketers and their product was eyeballs. It's time to reverse that model.

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