Study sees digital vid recorder boom

Recent growth driven by cable and satellite operators

Advertisers beware: Ownership of digital video recorders is growing rapidly, doubling in penetration over the last six months from 2% to 4%.

Among affluent households making $75,000 or more, DVRs have already achieved 10% penetration, indicating those with the most money to spend are becoming the hardest to reach via 30-second spots.

Study by research group Knowledge Networks found that while TiVo and smaller competitor ReplayTV helped launch the DVR market, most of its recent growth is being driven by cable and satellite operators. Fifty-six percent of homes with DVRs get them as part of their television service, with the rest bought via retail.

Researchers predicted that DVR usage will continue to expand at the same rate, meaning penetration could hit 6% or more by the end of the year.

Alternative reach

While the growth of DVRs limits audience exposure to full 30-second ads, they can benefit marketers looking to reach audiences in alternative ways, such as TiVo’s offering of ads on its main menu, which the company is targeting for growth.

Knowledge Networks VP and report author David Tice also noted that the spread of DVRs can cause trouble for networks as they try to figure out who’s watching what.

“A lot of people we talk to aren’t concerned that DVRs are changing viewing habits, but that those with DVRs aren’t being counted properly in Nielsen samples,” he commented. “Since people who own DVRs are on the high end of the income scale and are more media intensive, that can have a real impact.”

TiVo has collected data on its own users’ viewing habits separate from the viewership tracking done by Nielsen.

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