Counterintuition: Why TiVo users avoid fewer ads

Stephen Baker

Here's a piece from MIT suggesting that TiVo (and other DVR) users skip fewer ads than other households. Why? The remote. Traditional TV watchers channel surf madly avoiding ads. When you're watching a show that you're recording on TiVo, by contrast, you're stuck with it (unless you're devilishly clever with the technology). So if you catch up to the live broadcast, you're stuck watching the ads. (At this point in my house, we usually find something else to do for a while, or switch to programming already recorded on TiVo.)

The point of all this: TV advertising avoidance isn't a coming plague as people get on-demand technology. People have been zapping ads for decades. What's scary for the TV industry isn't that people zap ads, but that this behavior is now being measured.

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