Primetime's ditching hour

Study: DVR habits put the squeeze on live TV's 10 p.m. viewership

Here's a fact that might interest NBC and Jay Leno, whose late-night show moves to 10 p.m. in the fall: DVR users watch most of their primetime television not live but after it has been recorded, and much of the time they're watching those recorded shows from 10-11 p.m.

TiVo said Thursday that the 9 p.m. time slot is the one most DVR users — 59% of them — prefer to record rather than watch live. The 8 p.m. slot is second with 58%, and 10 p.m. is at 53%.

But though DVR users watch a little more TV live at 10 p.m. than they do earlier in primetime, many also are tuning out that hour entirely because they're watching shows recorded earlier.

TiVo said 30% of DVR users watch a show they have recorded within an hour of the show having aired live.

"The 10 p.m. slot is getting squeezed from both sides," said Todd Juenger, vp and GM of TiVo audience research and measurement.

TiVo bases its information on February data compiled by its Stop//Watch ratings service for ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC.

"The 10 p.m. programming also has a backstop from the 11 p.m. news or bedtime," Juenger said. "While some viewers will record programs aired at 10 p.m. for viewing later in the week, many are abandoning that hour of television altogether."

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, about 35 million U.S. households had a DVR at the end of 2008, and the number is expected to grow to 45 million, or 39% of all U.S. homes, by the end of this year. It's assumed that at least 66% of DVR users fast-forward through commercials when they watch something in recorded mode.

TiVo also said that 9 p.m. is the most popular of all time slots for DVR recording. (partialdiff)
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