Has DVR killed the commercial star?
February 7, 2011 10:15 PM   Subscribe

Have businesses suffered since DVRs became popular and everyone stopped watching commercials?
posted by easy_being_green to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Not everyone.
posted by John Cohen at 10:22 PM on February 7, 2011

I think the question easy_being_green is asking isn't, "what's happened with commercials now that people aren't watching them", but "since commercials are so important, have sales fallen because people are skipping them now"?
posted by jedrek at 2:15 AM on February 8, 2011

Pure speculation, but my guess is that it hasn't had much of an impact. In a marketing class we learned that one is "saturated" after viewing an ad more than three times per month. Thus many of those ads are wasted. If you watch a Law and Order marathon, for example, you're going to see the same car insurance commercial 20+ times. Most of those ads won't have an impact.
posted by emkelley at 4:20 AM on February 8, 2011

"If you watch a Law and Order marathon, for example, you're going to see the same car insurance commercial 20+ times. Most of those ads won't have an impact."

Well, at 20+ times, it makes you want to stab your own eyes out and start swearing to never buy insurance from that company.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:15 AM on February 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

It seems like the technology exists to embed an alternative high speed encoded commercial in the broadcast stream so that when you fast forward through commercials on the DVR, you'll actually see a short 10 second commercial, or maybe even just a logo, that is only visible when fast forwarding.
posted by COD at 6:00 AM on February 8, 2011

COD; there was an FPP about exactly that. I can't find it at the moment. Companies are structuring their spots so they make sense even at high speed.
posted by odinsdream at 6:29 AM on February 8, 2011

I would say that businesses that maintained the status quo regarding commercials, where they can say anything because they have a more or less captive audience, probably suffered. But businesses that use creative advertising designed to entice the distracted viewer would likely be better off. If you are skipping through the commercials and see something unusual, you are likely to stop and look. Because, after all, you are still saving time.
posted by gjc at 7:14 AM on February 8, 2011

Spot on, jedrek. I should have specified that I was wondering if there had been any studies showing a drop in profits that could have been explained by a loss of commercial viewership. According to the articles posted by John Cohen and roger ackroyd, it sounds like that's not an issue because people with DVRs are watching ads anyway.
posted by easy_being_green at 12:21 PM on February 8, 2011

No -- the efficacy of advertising is greatly exaggerated (by both advertising agencies, and the sponsors who spend so much on them).
posted by Rash at 12:55 PM on February 8, 2011

Also a lot of advertising has shifted from television to other mediums. 10 years ago, DVRs were rare (but existed) but online advertising was small. Now online advertising is huge and presumably makes up for at least some of any missed TV ads.
posted by wildcrdj at 2:32 PM on February 8, 2011

I can tell you that back when I had a DVR, I pretty much only used it to skip the repeated commercials. Sometimes I forgot to fast-forward through a commercial I had never seen before, because it captured my attention long enough that I sat through it.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 3:24 PM on February 8, 2011

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