It's good that they are finally measuring this. I get to watch a lot more TV than I would w/o a DVR because I can watch where/when it's convenient for me.
DVR Having Significant Result in Ratings, Finally Being Calculated
The way I understand it, DVR viewers were not counted intentionally because so many commercials were time sensitive and recorded shows may not be watched until after their expiration date. Ratings relate to dollars spent by advertisers to have their commercials placed in time slots that will gather the most viewers. Most DVR users will skip right past commercials, rendering viewing results essentially useless for their intended purpose.
Studios don't want their advertisers to know that even though the shows are being watched by a wider audience, the commercials are not. An increase in shows being recorded by DVR may actually result in the show being canceled if the studios can't get people to watch the commercials. Lack of commercial viewers could result in advertisers pulling their support. which can kill a show licketysplit. What you end up with is a lot more game shows and reality TV because they're the cheapest shows to produce.
Even so, DVRs are getting into more households and the studios have to face the fact that they're out there. There's little they can do to prevent people from skipping past commercials, although Tivo tried to slip that little feature past their DVR users a while back. Needless to say it didn't go over so well with Tivo owners. No doubt the studios will put some kind of spin on the viewing numbers, even taking DVR owners into account, that will have them coming out on top, which is good news for everyone. It will be interesting to see how this affects future programming.
I think that no matter how this is sliced up by the interested parties, the end result can only be positive. Everything captain says is dead on. The good side of this is that it may result in more realistic advertising fees, which, some would argue, will result in less money for programming, potentially resulting in programs being canceled or never aired. While true, there's no way that TV is just going to disappear because the advertising money has gone down. In reality, I'd venture to say that we'll have lower production costs, lower advertising costs, shorter--though, more--commercials, all resulting in BETTER programming, since the networks will need to ensure that their shows are profitable. In that type of market, something like Cavemen would--thankfully--never even get past the idea stage.