Paying the piper: What are DVR viewers worth to you?

Different guy, same idea

I have blogged before of the simple joys of having a Sky+ box and an accompanying DVD Recorder (also with its own hard drive) in the house. What I didn’t say because I didn’t think of it is that it actually makes us watch more broadcast content than before. This is a very good thing for broadcasters in lots of ways. But how can the space be priced? Adweek seems to have started the debate Stateside. It seems that advertisers don’t buy the idea that people who combine PVR use with ‘live’ TV viewing should be priced into media cost. In PVR households 40% of TV consumed is not ‘live’ but networks feel that a large number of viewers watch the recorded content without fast forwarding adverts and many others watch within an hour or so of the original live broadcast. They want cash for this. Advertisers should stand firm – they are paying for a certain number of eyeballs at a certain time, not to be an irrelevant presence on some hard drive.

There is a good amount of evidence that commercial TV has been ripping off marketers for years. During big ticket programmes, people chat during ad breaks, make food, go to the loo or something else. At 11pm on a Wednesday night on Bravo you have your small audience’s undivided attention. The$600m networks will ‘lose’ to PVRs is a cost of not innovating. Instead of infesting content with DRM as in the insidous Broadcast Flag – why not have an anonymous mechanism to note if content is watched in exchange for letting consumers record/share it? Models need to change and that $600m needs to go into other kinds of media.

TV is not dead. If it was, web based brands would not advertise on it. But it needs to change for its own good. The demands of advertisers could help.

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