DVR Users Watch More TV, Just Not Live TV


It’s somewhat humerous that it’s taken until 2010 for reports like this to finally be published by Nielsen. For years show ratings have been hurt by unaccounted DVR users. This isn’t the first report we’ve seen implying these numbers this year, but it’s a good sign that they’re continuing to show what we already know–using a DVR lets you watch more TV, in less time.


When DVR usage is counted among households that own one, it adds 7.9 ratings points to their viewing. And despite the fact that non-DVR users watch more TV live, those with time-shifted device watched nearly a full ratings point more TV in total. Not just that, but viewers tend to watch shows not long after they’re recorded. Nearly half of all DVR viewing happens the same night that a show is recorded, and almost 90 percent of all timeshifted viewing happens within the first three days.


  • The part about being able to

    The part about being able to watch more TV in less time is what’s kept these stats from seeing the light of day.  They don’t want their advertisers getting wind of the fact that more viewers may be watching the show, but fewer are actually watching the commercials.  Without advertising revenue, the networks could suffer severe monetary losses.  In fact, many of the networks have watchdogs in place to see if you’re downloading their shows via Bittorrents or other sources not sanctioned by them. 

    I’ve been known to use BT from time to time for a missed TV episode, mainly because I don’t want to sit through commercials on Hulu.  If I forget to clear the file from my BT client and become a seeder, I eventually get a notice from my ISP telling me I’m infringing on someone’s copyrights.  So far the two main networks I’ve “violated” are NBC and HBO.  I find that to be somewhat ironic because I subscribe to HBO.  I just don’t have a set top box that gives me access to VOD where I could watch a missed episode of True Blood or whatever.  I hate to cut and run (i.e., download without seeding), but they’re leaving me no alternative.  FWIW, the infringement notices I’ve received indicate that no personal info about me is being provided to the networks.  It’s more of a heads-up from Verizon telling me to knock it off.

  • You’re right, it’s taken this

    You’re right, it’s taken this long for them to get a clue?!?   Thank you Mr. Obvious.

  • I’ve said it before and I’ll

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I would GLADLY install a small app that would moniter the media I watch and report back to the pin heads at Nielsen if it means great shows like Firefly are given their fare share before being cancelled.

    It should be rather simple to just have an app that reads the meta data and sends it back to the mothership. Gees…