In DVR Homes, 50% of Adult 18-49 Viewing is Time-Shifted

Categories: New TV Technology

Written By

November 6th, 2008

A new study from MAGNA reveals data about DVR viewing we don't see ourselves from Nielsen. In particular, the age demo differences in DVR viewing between shows, and the average ages of DVR viewers.

Here are some highlights:

  • Less than 30% of TV homes currently have DVRs, but they already account for 11% of national household ratings for the five broadcast networks, and 16% of adult 18-49 viewing.
  • In DVR homes, roughly 40% of household viewing and 50% of adult 18-49 viewing were time-shifted.
  • There was little correlation between rating size and the degree of DVR playback for a series.
  • There was a clear link between program type and the amount of time-shifted viewing, regardless of actual audience size or network.
  • Sci-fi and action dramas were the only genres where virtually all programs had above average DVR playback.
  • Heroes, Fringe, Prison Break, Pushing Daisies, Chuck, Smallville, Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles, Supernatural, My Own Worst Enemy, and Ghost Whisperer each had a much greater percentage of DVR playback than the average primetime series.
  • Medical dramas with serialized storylines, and a number of younger, female skewing serialized dramas had significantly higher than average DVR playback.
  • Grey’s Anatomy, House, and Private Practice, as well as 90210, Lipstick Jungle, Gossip Girl, Privileged, One Tree Hill, Dirty Sexy Money, and Desperate Housewives had substantial amounts of DVR playback.
  • Some comedies, such as The Office (the most time-shifted show on broadcast television), 30 Rock, How I Met Your Mother, My Name is Earl, and The Big Bang Theory had time-shifting levels well above average. Most others did not.
  • Reality ran the gamut, with Survivor, Amazing Race, and America’s Next Top Model, having a higher percentage of time-shifting than most primetime series. Most other reality shows had much less DVR activity.
  • Young adults time-shift their viewing at a much greater rate than older viewers.
  • The average primetime broadcast series viewed live had more adults 65+ than adults 18-34 (20% vs. 18%). This was not the case among the time-shifted audience, where 31% of total viewers were adults 18-34 compared to just 6% adults 65+.
  • The average 5-network median age was about 10 years younger for the DVR Playback audience than for the live audience (40 vs. 50). This 10-year gap held true for ABC, CBS, and NBC. FOX, which is somewhat younger to begin with, had a 5-year difference, while CW, which is far younger than the other networks, had just a 2-year difference between its live and time-shifted audience.

The report has a massive amount of data and you can download the entire report here.

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