Report Indicates DVR Users Skipping Fewer Ads: Result of New Tricks?

  • According to a Nomura Securities’ quarterly report on prime time TV viewing, “the percentage of broadcast commercials skipped by DVR users dropped to 46.7 percent in the 2011/2012 season from 58.8 percent in 2007/2008. For cable, 50.4 percent of the ads were skipped this past season vs. 52.8 percent in 2007/2008,” reports Deadline.
  • Slate culture critic June Thomas believes more viewers are watching commercials because of the way advertisers and cable networks are delivering those ads.
  • Thomas cites a recent example of this while watching the program “Drop Dead Diva.” Right as the commercial break begins and fast-forwarding starts, a commercial appears featuring the show’s main character, still in character, promoting a hair product. The viewer is tricked into stopping the fast-forward function.
  • The tagline for this commercial: “Get to the essence of your inner diva. Keep watching Drop Dead Diva, brought to you by Herbal Essences.”
  • TNT has been implementing a similar type of advertising during its hit show “The Closer” that focuses on the lead character’s sweet tooth. At the end of a show segment, the camera pans to discarded candy wrappers and a handwritten note: “Need the energy to grind out one more confession? Go nuts.” A PayDay bar appears and the interstitial cuts to a PayDay commercial.
  • “Whether it’s the ‘Drop Dead Diva’ ad featuring a character from the show, or the TNT interstitials that appear to contain a written clue, these fake-outs cause the fast-forwarding viewer to pause to figure out if what’s flashing by is content or commerce,” notes Thomas. “It’s annoying, but it’s good advertising. Not only did I watch those spots, I even remember the names of the sponsors.”
  • This could be a better alternative than overt product placement, which has shown up in more shows recently and can be irritating to the viewer.

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