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Nielsen: DVDs Pass VCRs in U.S. Households

An Open Letter To Walmart, Julie Roehm and Draft/FCB |


| The Most Tivo'd Shows: Naughty or Nice for Advertisers?

December 19, 2006

Nielsen: DVDs Pass VCRs in U.S. Households

David Kiley

It’s official. DVD Player penetration in U.S. households has passed that of VCRs. Nielsen Media Research said DVDs are now found in 81.2% of households, versus 79.2% for VCRs.

But that’s besides the point. I had lunch with an executive yesterday who says 40% of TV watching is non-real-time now—video, DVDs and time-shifted TV shows from Digital Video Recorders. That’s an awful lot of eyeballs opting out of advertising. Last Sunday night, for example, I watched the New York Giants get embarrassed by the Eagles. The game was on at 4:15. I did not watch until 8PM, carefully avoiding results of the game until I could see for myself. The game would have taken me 3 hours-plus to watch live. I watched and enjoyed it in one hour and 12 minutes after my young son had gone to bed. When you fast-forward by all the ads, halftime and even huddles, it is remarkable the sense you get about how much time would be utterly wasted by watching the game live. I was thinking---to watch the game live gives me the same feeling I get when my dsl connection is slow and wasting time. Grrrr.

Even at FFF speed, I could see my time being utterly wasted. Jewelry stores at which I won’t be shopping. Cadillacs for which I’m not in market. Promotions for TV shows I wouldn’t dream of watching. Dog food ( I don’t have a dog). This ad model is totally busted. Attention advertisers: All the instincts you have about ripping dollars out of live TV spending are correct.

There is so much unwatchable crap on TV right now that my own DVD consumption, via Netflix, has been going up to about a dozen DVDs per month. Obe of the best aspects of Netflix is discovering a series you want to watch, which makes for five or six DVDs and a blackout of prime-time live TV watching on many nights.

Some additional topline findings from Nielsen’s Home Tech study include:

Computers -- 73.4% of U.S. homes currently have a computer in the household.Homes with an income over $60K are 50% more likely to own a home computer than homes with an income below $60K.

Internet – 95.4% of consumers with Internet access go online at least once a week, and 37.3% of Internet users go online more than once a day. 78.2% of online users have made purchases over the Internet. 46.8% of online users (ages 12+) have used the Internet to download and play music from the Internet.

MP3 Players – 26.7% of U.S. homes own or rent an MP3 player. Households with the presence of children 12-17 years of age are nearly 2 times more likely to own or rent an MP3 player than compared to the Total U.S. The percentage of homes owning an MP3 player has risen by 149.5% since 3rd Quarter 2003.

PDA – 16.4% of U.S. homes own a PDA, and since 3rd quarter 2003, PDA ownership has increased by 4.5%. Not surprisingly, higher income homes are more than four times as likely as lower income homes to own a PDA.

01:43 PM

crazy marketing blather and bloviations

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You write: "I had lunch with an executive yesterday who says 40% of TV watching is non-real-time now—video, DVDs and time-shifted TV shows from Digital Video Recorders."

So this means 40% of the aggregate time all Americans are looking at a television screen, basically? It counts watching a DVD of a movie as "TV watching"?

If so, how could he know that?

It'd be interesting to know how much of that 40% is actual time-shifted television programming like your football anecdote. I thought DVR penetration was still not all that high, so... just curious.

Anyway, interesting that DVD players are only now passing VCRs. I would have assumed that happened a few years ago...

Posted by: rw at December 19, 2006 05:35 PM

"it is remarkable the sense you get about how much time would be utterly wasted by watching the game live."

It's funny you mention sports, because that is the type of programminf that is the most DVR resistent. The scenario you mentioned above is only more enjoyable if you are watching the game by yourself.

If you have friends or family watching with you, the huddles and commercials become moments to talk about the game or other issues at hand.

Posted by: Hashim at December 26, 2006 02:06 PM

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