TiVo: Movie Ads Pop on DVR Playback

NEW YORK Six of the 10 most-viewed commercials seen in DVR playback mode during 2008 were spots for theatrical film releases, according to a new study from TiVo on network and cable TV commercial viewing habits.

Leading the list was a Universal Pictures spot for the film Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which received a 12 household rating during the April 10 installment of NBC’s The Office. A Coca-Cola Classic spot on the May 21 finale of Fox’s American Idol was the second most-viewed commercial seen in time-shifted mode with an 11.1 rating, the study said.

In addition to the six films and the Coke spot, other ads rounding out the top 10 were a Toyota Trucks spot and an AT&T ad that both aired on the Feb. 24 edition of Fox’s House and a spot for videogame Guitar Hero on the Feb. 24 edition of Idol.

The most-watched time-shifted spot on cable was one for Bluefly Outlet Stores that aired on the Jan. 23 installment of Bravo’s Project Runway and which garnered a 5.3 rating.

Eight of the 10 most-watched time-shifted cable spots aired in various episodes of the USA series Pysch, most likely, TiVo reports, because the ads integrated characters from the series, making it difficult for viewers to distinguish between commercial and program content. Also in the top 10 was a spot for automaker Saab that aired on the July 24 edition of USA’s Burn Notice.

The Coke Classic spot in the Idol finale also took top honors as the most-viewed commercial overall (live and time-shifted viewing combined), garnering a 20.2 rating.

That program, one of the most-watched shows of the year, had four of the top 10 most-viewed spots, including an ad for Paramount’s theatrical film The Love Guru and two spots for Guitar Hero.

Ads on two airings of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy (for 20th Century Fox’s Australia and Paramount’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and the Oscar telecast on Feb. 24 (J.C. Penney, American Express and two L’Oreal spots), also on ABC, accounted for the remaining 10 most-viewed commercials on broadcast TV.

The Bluefly ad on Runway was also the most-watched ad overall (live and playback combined) on cable for 2008, with a 6.5 rating. Five of the 10 most-viewed cable spots appeared during CNN’s Election Night coverage

TiVo also reported the heavily promoted network “sweep” periods, which are filled with original programs were the periods when viewers watched most in playback mode. For example, in May and October, both sweep months, 54 percent of prime-time viewing occurred on a time-shifted basis on the broadcast networks. By comparison, during the summer months, which contain more repeats, time-shifting accounted for 40 percent of all prime-time viewing.

Commenting on the analysis, Todd Juenger, vp and gm, TiVo Audience Research and Measurement, said: “Not all advertising is created equal, and DVR viewing does not impact all programs equally. The programs with the biggest budgets, biggest audiences and highest priced advertising are exactly the same programs that are time-shifted the most, and therefore experience the most commercial fast-forwarding. The effect of fast-forwarding on all industry stakeholders is enormous and new business models must be developed.”