A recent survey performed by TiVO, the US firm that manufacturers Digital Video Recorders (DVR) under the name of TiVO, shows a significant shift in TV viewing habits. Based on data collected from its nearly 2 million DVR’s they determined that nearly two thirds of viewing is delayed TV or on-line on-demand content such as Netflix and YouTube. This means that less than 25% of people using TiVO set top boxes actually watch live television. Although this is a relatively small sample of people with TiVO connected televisions, I feel this trend can be extrapolated to the viewing habits of the general population. With the introduction of DVR’s by nearly every cable and satellite television provider, viewers have taken to them as a way to avoid watching endless annoying advertisements. I know people who purposely start watching a program on their DVR 10-15 minutes after it starts just so they can fast forward through the advertisements. As well it provides people with the ability to watch a program when it is convenient for them.
It is expected that on-line viewing will continue to grow even more as services such as Netflix, iTunes and Amazon add more content to their sites. This trend has spawned a whole generation of “cable cutters”, people who no longer depend on traditional distribution models to deliver content to them. Cable and satellite providers are now scrambling to keep subscribers by offering them more options for on-line and on-demand viewing. We have become used to these types of services and there is no looking back.