Time-shifting not reducing consumption of live TV, ads watched | Media Analysis | Business | News | Rapid TV News
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A study by researchers at three universities in the US, Netherlands and Portugal has found that contrary to received wisdom, people with time-shift TV capability did not watch less live TV and they did not watch fewer advertisements.
tiVo 6Nov2018
Moreover, the The Impact of Time Shifting on TV Consumption and Ad Viewership study found that with time-shift viewers consumed slightly more TV overall than they did before having the technology.

The researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, Erasmus University Rotterdam, and Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics, based their findings on a study using a randomised control trial that involved cable customers from more than 50,000 households. Some of the households were given premium TV channels, which included popular films and shows without commercial breaks, for six weeks. In some of those households, consumers were given access to time-shift TV, which the researchers said allowed them to observe the effect of the technology on consumers' consumption of TV.

Overall, the study revealed that having time-shift technology did not change the amount of time consumers viewed live TV but boosted the concentration of total TV viewership because viewers used the technology disproportionately more to watch popular programmes.

Households in the research’s control condition watched, on average, 5.0 hours of TV per day and 58% of them used time shifting at least once during an 11-day pre-experimental period. General purpose channels such as national free-to-air accounted for most of the viewership, both in live and in time shifting, followed by entertainment, news, and children’s viewing.

General purpose and entertainment channels were also found to capture a disproportionate larger viewership share in time shifting than in live TV and conversely for news and sports channels. The researchers said that this was expected given that the value of the latter types of content was extremely time dependent. That is, it was highest when consumed live and decreases quickly after the original broadcast. By contrast, films and TV shows remained valuable to viewers for much longer after their original broadcast.

On average, 80% of the programmes watched using time shifting aired in the previous 48 hours. The analysts noted that this short lag between original broadcast time and time-shift consumption suggested that time shifting was mostly used to catch-up on content missed recently. This time was larger for time-sensitive content, such as sports and news, and smaller for entertainment and general-purpose content, which supported the idea that time shifting is more valuable for the latter types of content.

The technology didn't change the consumers' behaviour towards watching advertisements when they watched the original TV channels live, suggesting that consumers didn't use the technology to strategically avoid advertisements.

“Advertisers have been concerned that using time-shift TV would decrease the amount of time people spend watching live TV, which would reduce their exposure to ads,” remarked Pedro Ferreira, associate professor of information systems at Carnegie Mellon's Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy commenteing on The Impact of Time Shifting on TV Consumption and Ad Viewership studyhe Impact of Time Shifting on TV Consumption and Ad Viewership study“Our findings should interest advertisers as well as cable companies and producers of TV content. Our study showed that having time-shift TV technology didn't reduce the amount of time people spend watching live TV. In addition, we also showed that people aren't abandoning ads more frequently even when they have time-shift TV.