Fast-forward thinking: DVRs change game

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The growth in the usage of DVRs means that television viewers are increasingly skipping the adverts, with 79% fast-forwarding all or most of the time, according to a report published Monday.

Another 15% of those polled said that they fast-forward advertisements "some of the time," while 4% said they rarely skip past ads and just 2% never hit the fast-forward button.

The report, produced by Entertainment Media Research for media law firm Wiggin, makes for bleak reading for advertisers and space sellers alike.

"On-demand television funded by advertising and free-to-view is seemingly the mass-market model of choice," Entertainment Media Research chief executive Russell Hart said. "However, since 80% of viewers with fast-forward technology avoid the adverts most of the time, viable ad-funded models of the future will need to deny the consumer ad-skipping control to guarantee ad exposure."

Added Wiggin Music and Technology partner Alexander Ross: "The challenge for advertisers is to find more targeted forms of advertising that consumers are more willing to respond to. The technologies are already with us to enable that to happen."

The report, derived from a January survey of 1,608 U.K. consumers ages 15-54, indicates that consumer demand for on-demand programming is potentially huge.

But when confronted with the three options — subscription with unlimited content, PPV and free ad-supported models — the free model wins comprehensively, with 70% saying they would rather put up with ads than pay.

Driving the growing audiences for on-demand services are recently released movies, while live music concerts and comedy offerings have generated high demand.
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