DVR Math: Who Benefits

According to the latest research, about 40 percent of U.S. households now own at least one DVR. That’s up from 8 percent five years ago. Time-shifting of primetime TV is increasingly impacting viewership.

Through five weeks of the fall season, Nielsen’s measurement of Live+7 (viewers within a week of airing) reveals that both broad hits and niche fare can be boosted significantly. So ABC’s Modern Family, already a juggernaut, gains about 2 million viewers, and Fox’s more modestly rated Fringe spikes a whopping 45%.

Although advertisers aren’t thrilled about commercial-skipping, the DVR audience is worth coveting: The Leichtman Research Group reports that DVR households make about 34% more money than those without recorders. Still, though it might seem like everyone in Hollywood watches TiVo, America hasn’t abandoned Appointment Television.

“Over 90 percent of all TV viewing in the U.S. is still of live TV,” says Bruce Leichtman, the group’s president and principal analyst.