PVRs Could Present New Ad Opportunities

SAN FRANCISCO According to TiVo’s estimates, consumers skip through about three-quarters of commercials when they watch recorded programming. While personal video recorder penetration is fairly small at some 3.65 million households, numbers such as that have PVR manufacturers, advertisers and agencies devising ways to prevent on-air marketing messages from being shut out.

Panelists at an Ad:Tech session here today were optimistic, saying that the new technology could lead to more ad opportunities. “PVRs are not the death of advertising as we know it,” said Allan McLennon, managing partner at Puremac Digital/IP-DTV. “They are expediting a new form of advertising and the need to be an element or extension of the programming that lives within.”

A Gartner Group survey of marketing professionals found that 31 percent of the respondents would reduce their TV spend by 20 percent if commercial skipping became a trend. On the bright side, the research found that 24 percent would increase their broadcast spend if the PVR evolves and enables ad delivery.

Forrester Research principal analyst Charlene Li suggested that marketers could place ads on the video-on-demand menu. Another solution is tagging programs and commercials, said Kimber Sterling, director of advertising and research sales at TiVo. For instance, a tag would reside on the corner of the screen during a commercial that consumers could click to view more content about the product or service.

Also, broadband will eventually be bundled into the PVR, said Sterling, which would allow for a higher degree of interactivity. “There will be no need to use your cell phone to vote for American Idol in the future,” Sterling said.

An InsightExpress survey of consumer attitudes and behaviors surrounding PVRs also offered hope. The research found that 90 percent of the respondents noticed commercials even when fast forwarding, 54 percent have rewound or paused commercials and 37 percent would like to request product information when viewing commercials on their PVRs.