More DVR Owners in U.S. Never Watch the TV They Record

Motorola Mobility finds 72% of DVR owners are hoarders and collect TV programming.

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There’s binge watching and then there’s never watching at all.

A new study by Motorola Mobility claims that 41% of the content recorded on DVRs in the United States is never watched and deleted. Worldwide, that stat is lower, at around 36%.

Still that’s a significant number as networks increasingly want timeshifted viewing through DVRs, VOD and web-streaming platforms to be counted as part of Nielsen’s Live-plus-7 ratings measurement — or viewing captured within seven days of a program’s premiere telecast — when they broker deals with advertisers.

At the start of the fall TV season, 46% of U.S. homes had a DVR, up 30% over the previous year.

And that’s helped increase the amount of TV consumption, which is up 90% around the globe this year to 19 hours, according to Motorola Mobility’s Fourth Annual Media Engagement Barometer.

The U.S. has the highest weekly TV consumption at 23 hours of TV and six hours of movies watched, while Sweden and Japan have the lowest at 15 hours and two hours, respectively, the study found.

Worldwide, 29% of weekly TV viewing is recorded content, with 76% of those surveyed saying they watch news broadcasts live.

More than 77% of those surveyed said they record because there is other content airing at the same time, while 68% globally record programming to skip ads. That percentage is higher in the U.S. (74%) and the U.K. (75%). Another 72% say they are hoarders, simply collecting TV programming on their set-top boxes.

The TV biz, of course, wants to turn more of those individuals into viewers.

But more recorded programming would be watched if it could easily be transferred to mobile devices like tablets and smartphones, Motorola Mobility found. That’s because tablet owners tend to watch more recorded content.

Around 80% of a tablet user’s content is recorded, versus 65% among non-tablet owners, according to the study. On average, tablet owners also watch 6.7 hours of movies a week versus the average of 5.5 of non-tablet owners.

“Consumers want to be in control of the way they experience their videos,” John Burke , senior VP and general manager of converged solutions at Motorola Mobility. “Increasingly, they’re using tablets and smartphones to view [and control] content, and they expect this experience to transition seamlessly across their favorite programs, whenever and wherever they like.”

Naturally, Motorola Mobility, owned by Google, has an interest in increased usage of mobile devices given that it makes Android smartphones and tablets, set top boxes, DVRs and other devices that record or play video programming.

Motorola interviewed 9,500 consumers in 17 countries for its report.