It’s a common fear that the DVR is a modern limbo for TV shows, a place where people store programs they intend to watch, but rarely get around to viewing. A new survey of digital video recorder (DVR) users proves otherwise.
Among television households with DVRs, more than 78% of all viewers who watch recorded broadcast primetime shows within a week play them back within two days, and 84% play them back within three days, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Among viewers ages 18 to 49, 76% played back broadcast network primetime programs within 48 hours. During the same time period, 84% watched primetime shows they recorded off advertiser-supported cable networks; and 85% viewed time-shifted syndicated shows within two days.
By the third day, those percentages rose to 84% for primetime broadcast, 90% for primetime cable and 91% for total syndication.
Among DVR users in this age group, nearly a quarter (22.9%) of all primetime minutes viewed are via DVR playback.
In short, most DVR users are storing nearly a quarter of all the TV they intend to watch, and they actually watch more than three-quarters of what they’ve saved for later viewing within three days.
Time-shifting behavior is clearly becoming a common behavior among those who have DVRs, but DVR use itself is far from common. Nielsen notes that among all households ages 18 to 49, only 11.5% have DVRs, and only 2.6% of viewing time is DVR playback.
A PowerPoint presentation with additional data is free here.
Nielsen, long and widely criticized for its tracking methodology, is using its DVR report as a showcase for its ability to track non-traditional viewing.