TiVo is not the ad saboteur we first feared

Having read David Pugh’s article (MW November 9) about personal video recorders I was outraged.

There are many misconceptions flying around about PVR’s effect on viewing. The early US “research” he refers to was carried out in 40 homes – hardly representative or conclusive.

Also, all PVRs are not the same. TiVo, which Sky was involved in launching, does not allow the editing out of advertising, although as with current VCRs you are able to fast-forward through ads.

The US “research” suggests that four out of ten ads are watched in TiVo viewing, which is comparable with viewing rates for VCR-recorded programmes. The same data also shows us that TiVo significantly increases total viewing levels.

Later this month a major US study conducted by Nielsen/ASI in 1,500 households will analyse the pre and post acquisition behaviour of PVR homes. Perhaps this will offer some more relevant facts on the influence of PVRs.

On a more positive note, there will be many exciting new ways of delivering advertising messages using this new technology.

By way of revenge on the outdoor industry for this slur on the effectiveness of TV, I have decided to “edit out” all roadside poster advertising by shutting my eyes and accelerating past them at full throttle. If all of the TV industry follows my lead I think that we can significantly decrease roadside traffic.

Graham Appleby

Head of client sales

BSkyB

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