Digital video recorders pose a threat to television commercials
The perfectly innocuous digital video recorder (DVR) could very well change the way television is watched in India and across the globe, and therefore, impact the bottomline of broadcasters and advertisers.
For the uninitiated, DVRs record television programme onto a hard disk, similar to that of a computer. The technology also allows viewers to omit advertisements coming during, or in between programmes.
Thus, with DVRs allowing viewers the luxury of skipping commercial breaks, TV advertisement could be losing its lustre in the near future.
In India, of course, there is no immediate threat to broadcasters, but the trend is said to be already catching up in developed markets.
At the second annual American Advertising Federation (AAF) survey, conducted recently, more than three-quarters of advertising leaders believe DVRs will change the TV advertising landscape, shifting more dollars to non-traditional advertising media like the Internet.
Media planners say that earlier, appointment viewing was in vogue as popular television shows attracted a major percentage of viewers. Consequently, broadcasters merrily hawked those popular programmes to advertisers at high rates.
However, with DVRs coming in, a prospective viewer can apparently programme the recorder to identify the split-second lag between a running TV show and the ad-spot, and effectively block advertisements. This way, the viewer can watch the programme at his convenience, junking the very notion of appointment viewing.
Over time, this technology could be popular in India as many of the SEC A (and higher) viewers are regularly forced to miss their favourite TV shows because of prior commitments. Once this happens, the concept of prime time viewing will also change.
Meanwhile, Internet is being increasingly seen as a great medium by advertisers and agencies. The AAF survey witnessed a rising respect for online advertising with a majority of the respondents incorporating the Internet into the general media mix. This shift showed that online advertising was now considered a traditional marketing medium.
The 121 American advertisement industry leaders, who responded to the survey, represented all sectors of the industry, with 70 per cent having at least 15 years of experience in advertising.
Incidentally, the recently concluded US Presidential elections saw a substantial increase in Internet advertising. The total ad spends in this medium was $4.2 million, trailing behind the obvious winners TV and radio. Will the 2008 US elections tell a different story with the rising popularity of DVRs?
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