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03.23.2003
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
TiVo threat level lowered?



A new study found that viewers who fast-forward through ads with digital personal video recorders (PVR)such as TiVo still recall those ads at roughly the same rate as people who see them at normal speed in real-time.

Is the perceived "threat" to ad-supported commercial television by TiVo personal video recorders a bunch of hot air? The country's biggest media advertiser Procter & Gamble Co. recently competed an internal study which found that, contrary to numerous grousing by industry executives, viewers who fast-forward through ads with digital personal video recorders (PVR) such as TiVo still recall those ads at roughly the same rates as people who see them at normal speed in real time.

This information has led some P&G marketing executives to conclude that TiVo may not pose the threat to TV advertising that many have predicted.

P&G would not comment publicly on the study. Critics said it's hard to believe viewers can retain the details of a television commercial after watching it speed by in fast forward.

Due to the emergence of PVRs, advertisers and marketers are experimenting with various alternatives to the 30-second ad in an effort to thwart the skipping of commercials. What the study hints at is that content is still king, even in the advertising world.

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