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DVR Market Evolves/Time-Shifting Hurts Advertisers, Business and Industry Trends Analysis

Within the television industry, recording and delayed viewing of programming is referred to as “time-shifting.”  The impact of these devices on the advertising industry, as well as ancillary businesses such as television networks and cable companies, is very great indeed.  Television advertising has long been based on charging the most for ad time in and around the highest-rated shows.  It’s not surprising then, that advertisers cry foul over DVR viewers’ ability to skip or fast-forward through their extremely expensive ads.
The ad-skipping phenomenon is forcing advertising agencies to become more creative.  Branded, single-company-sponsored programming may become a dominant trend and can increase both viewership and ad retention.
Other alternative ad approaches such as “showcases” and “branded tags” are available to DVR users.  Viewers must choose to view the showcase, which focuses on targeted areas of interest based on demographics and analysis of viewing habits.  Branded tags are advertising icons that appear while fast-forwarding through commercials while watching recorded content.  Viewers can select the icon with their remotes to learn more information about the product.  Another attempt to get ads to stick in viewer’s minds is to design relatively static ads that convey a message even as viewers fast forward through them.
The real future of DVR companies lies in expanded services and more sophisticated technology.  Portability of recorded programming is standard.  New services include the ability to watch recorded programming on portable devices, via internet connections or wi-fi, that communicate with the DVR.
Another convenience to viewers is the Video-on-Demand (VOD) programming offered by major cable companies.  Subscribers can quickly call up popular programs and movies that are stored on a cable system’s servers and watch this programming at a time of greatest convenience to the subscriber.  Some VOD programs are offered at an additional fee.  “Dynamic ad insertion” allows cable channels to insert ads into their video on demand (VOD) services in as little at 24 hours.  The practice allows advertisers to insert timely ads that viewers are unable to bypass using fast-forward.  In the past, advertisers were not so keen on VOD ads because programs often contained spots that were time sensitive and of little or no interest when viewed at a later date.

The advent of DVRs and streaming video available from services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu Plus has sparked a new viewing practice.  TV “bingeing” finds viewers spending extended periods (which could be a few hours or entire weekends) watching episode after episode of a series and miniseries such as Netflix’s The Crown, HBO’s Game of Thrones or Hulu’s The Bear.  While the providers of the streaming content are attracting and keeping subscribers in record numbers.  (Netflix had more than 223 million global streaming subscribers by mid-2022, and its own Netflix-produced movies and programs are among the most popular of all streaming content.)

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