DVR owners watch less commercials

It's generally assumed that TiVo DVR owners never watch commercials. But the Nielsen Company recently reported that many TiVo users are not fast-forwarding and time-shifting as much as advertisers thought. In fact, Nielsen said, these DVR owners still watch, on average, two-thirds of all the spots in programming they view.

A key reason is that many people with DVRs still tune in to watch about half of their shows at the scheduled start time, meaning they must sit through commercials.

Even when shows are watched later, however, many viewers are not fast-forwarding through the ads. On average, Nielsen found, DVR owners watch 40 percent of commercials that they could skip over — perhaps because they like ads, don't mind them, or simply don't want to be bothered with fast-forwarding through them.

Steve Sternberg, executive vice president and director of audience analysis at Magna Global Media Research, an ad-buying agency, told the New York Times that consumers are buying DVRs not because they want to time-shift all of their viewing and skip all commercials, but because they want to time-shift some of their viewing.