I’ll admit, if I watch a show on a DVR, I’ll skip the ads — that is, if I’m paying that much attention. Often, I’ll be watching while doing something on my laptop and I’ll forget what I’m watching isn’t live, so then the commercials will play.
It’s this kind of existence that the New York Times reports is trying to be sorted out:
Nielsen suggests that DVR owners are watching more TV and commercials over all than they otherwise would. It is true that among homes with DVRs, the ratings of commercials for some shows, particularly younger-skewing shows on Fox and the CW, soar by more than 50 percent when played back within three days, according to Don Seaman, a vice president and the director of communications analysis for the media agency MPG.
“However, they’re also the ones most likely to be media multitasking — texting, Facebooking, etc., during the commercials, using that as ‘down time’ to do other things until the commercial is over,” Mr. Seaman wrote in an e-mail. “Are we saying that they’re too lazy to pick up the remote to fast-forward? Far from it. They’re probably likely using commercials as a timing device to know when to pay attention to the TV again.”
We’ll simply never know for sure, I don’t think. Some will skip the ads, some won’t, and no one will truly be able to tell who’s paying attention. Until Google MindReader comes along, of course.