While the UK PVR market continues to be dominated by the Sky+ platform, the category is far more advanced on the other side of the Atlantic.
The penetration of PVR/DVR digital recorders, such as the Humax DRT800 pictured above, which combines an 80-hour digital video recorder with the TiVo service and DVD recorder, and the growing number of hard drive enabled satellite receiver boxes, could reach 20 percent of American homes by the end of the year.
This rapid growth is causing consternation thoughout US advertising agencies, who fear fewer viewers than ever are watching through programme breaks.
According to a survey of digital recorder owners, carried out by the Nielsen ratings company, nearly 90 percent of users confessed to fast-forwarding through the ads.
One radical proposal being put forward is that advertisers only pay television networks for ‘live’ viewers, reducing the claimed audience figures by the amount of PVR activity anticipated during a broadcast. This, predictably, has caused outrage at the big networks, who have branded the idea as “unjust!”.
Advertisers are also jockeying to become the first ad in any break, a position now seen as the hot slot.
But worse news is in store for those advertisers trying to reach a younger audience. In a survey of 400 teens, watching TV polled a lowly fourth as a favourite pastime, behind surfing the internet hanging out with friends and going to the movies.