In the middle of a story about DVR use and its impact on the TV business in this past Sunday's New York Times, reporter Bill Carter relayed this interesting tidbit:
Against almost every expectation, nearly half of all people watching delayed shows are still slouching on their couches watching messages about movies, cars and beer. According to Nielsen, 46 percent of viewers 18 to 49 years old for all four networks taken together are watching the commercials during playback, up slightly from last year. Why would people pass on the opportunity to skip through to the next chunk of program content? The most basic reason, according to Brad Adgate, the senior vice president for research at Horizon Media, a media buying firm, is that the behavior that has underpinned television since its invention still persists to a larger degree than expected. “It’s still a passive activity,” he said.
So there you go. The next time you see a report about how a show's ratings improved dramatically when DVR use was factored in, and you wonder how that could possibly matter to advertisers… well, now you know.