USATODAY just published an article on how network television is beginning to take a second look at how they perceive the use of DVR by the primetime television viewing public. Here are two particularly interesting quotes.
Only 23% of TV homes owned a DVR in May, Nielsen says. But that's nearly double the 12.4% average for the 2006-07 season. And because DVR users watch more TV than others, their impact on ratings is magnified.
"People with DVRs have the capability of watching this stuff whenever they want," says ABC's Larry Hyams, adding that the most-recorded shows have ratings 40% higher in DVR homes.
Now for those of you who are wondering what this has to do with daytime, here is why I'm bringing it up.
As I understand it DVR viewership ratings for daytime television ratings are based on "LIVE" plus one day or "LIVE" plus three days. Unlike daytime programming, primetime television viewership is based on "LIVE" plus seven days though they only receive advertising dollars for "Live" plus three days.
Now if I'm remembering correctly and daytime is calculated at "LIVE" plus one, imagine how daytime viewership ratings would go up if it were based on "LIVE" plus three? Even better, what if it were based on "LIVE" plus seven as is the case with primetime.
What I find hard to believe is how primetime television shows, which air one episode a week, can have the luxury of seven days for viewing while daytime soaps, which air five episodes a week, only receive one day for viewership. Shouldn't this be reversed?
As a DVR viewer I know that I'm only able to watch two or three soaps daily and that I end up saving the other four or five shows for the weekend. What about "average" viewers who only watch two soaps and watch them as a marathon on the weekend?
If the number of DVR usage nearly doubled to 23% in the last year alone couldn't this then explain the sharp decline in soaps over the past year since only "LIVE" plus one is being calculated? What happens if DVR viewership rises by the same 12.4% next year or heaven forbid double as it did this year?
I certainly do not have the answer. However, the least I would expect is that ratings for daytime television be calculated in an equal manner as primetime television programming. Two years ago networks bemoaned the death of their ratings at the hand of the DVR. Now the DVR is "brightening the picture for network TV." Who knows, maybe next year this time we'll be heralding the saving grace of daytime, the DVR.