DVR Viewership Up 64% In Broadcast Primetime

Categories: New TV Technology,TV Business

Written By

May 8th, 2008

dvr.jpgWayne Friedman at MediaWatch, has some quotes from Sinclair Broadcast Group's CEO David Smith saying that DVR usage has had little impact on his stations. Now I don't know the Sinclair business at all, so I'm not able to say whether Smith is correct, posturing, or ignoring reality.

What I do know is how much people are using their DVRs. And while DVR viewing is a small portion of prime-time broadcast TV viewing today, it's growing very rapidly, up 64% vs. last season at this point.

In the 2006-7 primetime season through April 22, 2007, DVR viewers made up 4.3% of all primetime broadcast show viewers for the top 6 broadcast networks. The share was higher for the youth age demographics: Adults 18-49, 6.3%, Adults 18-34, 6.3%, and Adults 25-54, 6.0%.

By the 2007-8 season (through April 20, 2007), DVR viewers made up 7.5% of all primetime broadcast show viewers, an increase of 64%. For adults 18-49 DVR viewers were 10.6%, an increase of 53%. For adults 18-34 DVR viewers were 11.7%, an increase of 41%. For adults 25-54 DVR viewers were 10.2%, an increase of 59%.

DVRs are now in over 20% of US TV homes this season (up from about 9% last season), and that share will continue to increase. But while I have no data, I'd also expect the use of DVRs within households to increase. I'd guess that people use their DVRs more the longer they have them up to a point, and since the number of DVR households is growing so rapidly many people have only recently obtained one.

It's true that DVRs are used much less to watch the most popular cable and syndicated shows than they are used on primetime broadcast shows, but if you're in the TV business it's not a matter of if your business will be affected by the DVR just when.

Season to Date 2007-8 Broadcast Primetime DVR Viewership Data , Top 6 Networks

stddvrviewers042008.gif

Interesting to see that Fox lags somewhat in it's share of DVR viewers season to date. Likely because it received significant primetime viewership from both the MLB playoffs last fall and the Super Bowl in February and both are very lightly DVR viewed. The fact that the CW leads all networks in DVR viewing share isn't terribly surprising considering its focus on younger demographic groups. Univision viewing by DVR lags far behind the other broadcast networks, likely because DVR penetration in their viewing households is lower than the national average, but we have no data on that.

For those of you interested in the viewing data itself here are the season to date viewership numbers for 2007-8 through 4/20/08. The numbers are all in millions except the DVR share data.

Another thing the data puts to rest is the argument, "Sure, live viewing is down, but it all went to DVRs". Not so. Overall live viewing is down 10% season to date, somewhat more for the youth age demos. DVR viewing (Live+7) is down 7%, again somewhat more for the demos.

So while some of the lost Live viewing this season was lost to DVR viewing, the majority of it was just lost to broadcast altogether. Likely the majority of it went to cable, but we don't have comparable viewing share data to compare season to season at this point.

2007-8 Live STD
Through 4/20/08  
  Viewers Adults 18-49 Adults 18-34 Adults 25-54
ABC 8.42 3.47 1.38 3.88
CBS 9.67 3.45 1.18 4.18
NBC 7.69 3.38 1.38 3.70
FOX 10.47 5.04 2.29 5.20
CW 2.33 1.18 0.63 1.07
UNI 3.49 1.96 1.13 1.78
Total

42.07

18.48

7.99

19.81

Change from 2006-7 -10% -13% -14% -12%
         
2007-8 Live+7 STD
     
  Viewers Adults 18-49 Adults 18-34 Adults 25-54
ABC 9.17 3.93 1.59 4.38
CBS 10.49 3.94 1.38 4.72
NBC 8.35 3.83 1.60 4.16
FOX 11.33 5.62 2.59 5.77
CW 2.58 1.36 0.75 1.23
UNI 3.54 1.99 1.14 1.81
Total 45.46 20.67 9.05 22.07
Change from 2006-7 -7% -9% -10% -8%
         
DVR Viewing 2007-8 STD
     
  Viewers Adults 18-49 Adults 18-34 Adults 25-54
ABC 0.75 0.46 0.21 0.50
CBS 0.82 0.49 0.20 0.54
NBC 0.66 0.45 0.22 0.46
FOX 0.86 0.58 0.30 0.57
CW 0.25 0.18 0.12 0.16
UNI 0.05 0.03 0.01 0.03
Total 3.39 2.19 1.06 2.26
Change from 2006-7 64% 53% 41% 59%
         
         
% Viewing by DVR STD
     
  Viewers Adults 18-49 Adults 18-34 Adults 25-54
ABC 8.2% 11.7% 13.2% 11.4%
CBS 7.8% 12.4% 14.5% 11.4%
NBC 7.9% 11.7% 13.8% 11.1%
FOX 7.6% 10.3% 11.6% 9.9%
CW 9.7% 13.2% 16.0% 13.0%
UNI 1.4% 1.5% 0.9% 1.7%
Total 7.5% 10.6% 11.7% 10.2%

I haven't included the 2006-7 numbers above which were used for the season to season calculations, but if anyone is interested feel free to email me for them.

Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2008 Nielsen Media Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 
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