TiVo Time Out

Article excerpt

Byline: Christian Toto, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

TiVo time out

Even the nation's TiVo machines are taking a break this summer.

An analysis of TiVo viewing data by New York-based media agency MPG finds that over the past two weeks, the majority of the top 25 broadcast network shows viewed by TiVo users weren't recorded but instead were seen live, Reuters News Agency reports.

TiVo is a popular digital video recorder (DVR) that enables users to record programs digitally to be seen later.

"It seems like the DVR usage is seasonal," Nina Kanter, director of communication analysis at MPG, told Reuters.

The top 25 included live sports (ABC's NBA Finals were seen during prime time), first-run shows such as ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" and Fox's "Hell's Kitchen," and repeats of CBS' "CSI" and ABC's "Lost." Only four shows - Fox's "Family Guy," "House, M.D." and "American Dad," along with The WB's "Beauty and the Geek" - were primarily viewed at a later time.

That's contrary to a corresponding TiVo survey from the week of May 8, when most of the shows were still first run.

Miss Kanter said it appears that most summer viewing is spontaneous.

"Television usage usually declines in the summer and, for the most part, it's not appointment viewing like we see in the fall and during the regular television season," she says. "That might be a plus for summer programs, because most of that viewing is live."

Media agencies, the networks, TiVo and other companies are still trying to understand the usage of digital video recorders and how they change viewing patterns. Some agencies have taken deep dives into DVR data to find out which shows are being recorded and how many viewers skip past commercials.

Nielsen Media Research will soon begin releasing regular data from DVR households, which will add another layer to the tracking of viewer usage.

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