BSkyB: PVRs making an impact

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LONDON -- In a clear indication of how primetime viewing patterns are changing in PVR-enabled homes, satcaster BSkyB said Tuesday that time-shifting accounts for more than 22% of all viewing between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. and 17% between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. in homes equipped with its PVR service, Sky+.

Drama has proved to be the most popular genre for time-shifting -- which allows viewers to record shows for later viewing -- with 39.3% of all time-shifted viewing relating to drama shows, particularly U.S. dramas airing on digital networks.

The top five channels for time-shifted viewing were FX, More4, Hallmark, Living and ITV3, all of which have U.S.-driven drama lineups.

The figures appear to suggest that viewers watch either the main terrestrial channels or leading digital channels during primetime, but prefer to record drama that airs on digital networks for later viewing.

Documentaries accounted for 14.9% of time-shifted viewing, entertainment 13% and movies just 9.5%. News and weather programs were rarely recorded for later viewing, accounting for just 0.6% of viewing and 1.2% of current affairs viewing.

The news came as BSkyB said its Sky+ service, launched in 2000, has broken the 2 million homes barrier. The milestone was reached after the number of Sky+ boxes grew by more than 50% in 2006, putting Sky on track to pass its target of 2.5 million homes well in advance of the original schedule of 2010.

Sky plans to launch a number of enhanced services for its Sky+ service, including allowing users to record their favorite shows via the Internet as well as the introduction of a new generation of combined Sky+ and high-definition set-top boxes.

"Sky+ has changed the way millions of people watch TV. In its own way, Sky+ has as dramatic an effect on the experience of TV as the iPod has with music," BSkyB chief financial officer Jeremy Darroch said.

"Passing the milestone of 2 million Sky+ boxes keeps us on track to break through our target of 25% penetration well ahead of schedule," Darroch said. "The rapid growth of Sky+ shows strong customer demand for additional services and gives us great confidence as our multi-product strategy moves forward this year."
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