4 in 10 U.S. homes equipped with DVR, Nielsen says

December 30, 2010

The DVR is fast becoming a staple of TV viewing in the United States, with 38 percent of homes now equipped with the device, according to a new report from Nielsen.

Despite giving viewers the ability to fast-forward past ads to resume watching programs, the DVR actually has had a positive impact on commercial ratings, Nielsen found. In homes with DVRs, playback of recorded programs increases commercial ratings by 44 percent among 18- to 49-year-old viewers after three days. Among all 18- to 49-year-old viewers, the DVR lifts commercial ratings 16 percent after three days, Nielsen said.

Other key findings include

  • More than 38 percent of DVR users are older than 45.
  • When DVR playback is included, DVR households watch more prime-time programming than non-DVR households.
  • Overall, 49 percent of time-shifted, prime-time broadcast programming is played back the same day it was recorded, and 88 percent is played back within three days.
  • DVR playback peaks at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.

The research, presented in Nielsen’s new report “DVR Use in the U.S.,” examines various characteristics of DVR users, including age, race and income, as well as DVR usage and its impact on viewership of various programming genres and commercials.

DVR playback is starting “to have a meaningful impact on viewing,” the report said. After seven days, DVR playback added “2.29 rating points to total day usage levels for persons 18 to 49 in households with a DVR.”

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