With the continuous introduction of new technology, media consumption is in constant flux. One of the trends that affect media consumption is that of time-shifted television viewing. Through the use of Digital Video Recorders (DVRs), known in South Africa as Personal Video Recorders (PVRs), consumers are able to record live television directly on to a digital decoder for viewing at later stage. This allows consumers to firstly watch the programming at a time convenient to them, but also to fast-forward through adverts. As advertisers, it is important to understand the impact ad avoidance on reaching our target audiences through TV advertising.
Even in a developed market such as the USA, the impact of time-shifted viewing is being questioned. From Nielsen’s latest Cross-Platform Report (Q4 2012) below, it is demonstrated that while the amount of time spent on DVR playback has increased by 79% from Q4 2008 to Q4 2012, it still only accounts for 8% of total time spent watching television. Furthermore, the time spent watching live television has only decreased by 2% in the same period.
According to AMPS 2012, of the 3.8 million South African households that have a DStv decoder 3.1 million of these (82%) have a paid for subscription for the decoder. However, when looking at live TV viewing versus time-shifted viewing, the impact is minimal on the total number of DStv individuals and only has an impact on PVR households (see graph below). AMPS 2012 also indicates that only 19% of paying DStv households has a PVR enabled decoder, therefore the impact of time-shifted viewing is minimal on the overall DSTV viewership. These PVR households are heavily skewed towards LSM 9-10 and towards a HH Income >R14k.
However, as this market can be critical to some brands, it is vital that we understand how this market’s TV viewing is being impacted by time-shifted viewing. Firstly, it is important to note from the below graph that roughly 85% of all viewing on PVR decoders still occurs live. The majority of time-shifted viewing then occurs on the same day as live (VOSDAL) or one to two days later.
Keeping in mind that time-shifted viewing accounts for a very small portion of viewing in South Africa, we should also understand the parameters in which time-shifted viewing takes place. In line with international trends, news and sport programmes are primarily viewed live. The same is true for kids’ programming. While lifestyle, documentaries and music have increased time-time shifted viewing, it is still only about 10% of viewership. General entertainment is the most impacted genre, however, even here >70% of viewing is live.
Lastly, when zooming into a station and programme level, it is evident that the impact can be significant. M-Net’s series channel is the most impacted station and when looking at this station’s Top 20 programming (see table below), time-shifted viewing can be responsible for up to 60% of specific programmes’ audience. It is also important to note, however, that the more fragmented programmes (with lower ratings) are more heavily impacted, and those with a larger audience have live viewership >70%.
In conclusion, it is critical that we keep in mind that time-shifted viewing has minimal impact on the broad population or even the broad DSTV universe. However, when looking at specific target audiences with a high occurrence of PVR decoders, the impact overall may still be small but at a detailed programme level time-shifted viewing can have a significant impact on viewership.
Sources: Nielsen, AMPS 2012, TAMS, DStv
Isla Stringer is business unit manager at The MediaShop.
This post was first published in The MediaShop’s newsletter and is republished here with their kind permission.