PVRs change TV viewing behavior

By Robert Briel | March 28, 2009 | 10:03 UK

Recent data from BARB and SkyView shows the impact of PVRs on TV viewing habits. The data for the first episode of this season’s Lost , which aired in January on Sky One for example, shows that of the 1.6 million viewers, 53% watched the show on a time shifted basis.

in PVR households, less people actually watched the show live, than chose to watch it at a time that suited them. Of those that time shifted the show, 46% watched it from their Sky+ planner and the remainder either watched the show online (on SkyPlayer), via SkyAnytime or the red button.

The research also ranks channels and genres by proportion of viewing that is time-shifted. Drama is the most time shifted genre (with 38% of all viewing time shifted), followed by soap operas and documentaries. Of the channels, Sky Movies Premier and BBC4 are the most time shifted with 37% and 35% of their viewing time shifted respectively.

The three least time shifted genres are news, music, current affairs and sports, all of which viewers understandably prefer to watch live “as it happens”.

Remarkably only approximately 25% of UK homes have a PVR. Sky+ is the market leader and is in over 4.5 million homes; followed by Freeview PVRs which are in approximately 1 million homes; and Virgin Media PVRs in over 0.5m homes.