blipverts Recent internal research by Procter & Gamble Co. indicates that consumers who fast-forward through ads with digital personal video recorders such as TiVo still recall those ads at roughly the same rates as people who see them at normal speed in real time. [...]

"That's probably not an unusual finding based on the way people recall things," Mr. Schar said. "People hardly recall anything. So you're dealing with low numbers anyway, and differences with low numbers take a lot to be significant." [...]

P&G has in the past shared other TiVo research that found only about a third of TiVo users actually fast-forward through ads, (!!!) though fast-forwarding becomes more frequent the longer people use the PVR technology.

Tags: , ,

13 Responses:

  1. slithytove says:

    "People hardly recall anything."

    Hell, I can't even remember where I left my pen half the time, let alone the dumb ads.

    Look, if the advertisers want us to watch their ads, they know how: make them entertaining. Entertaining ads get watched, talked about, posted to MetaFilter and BoingBoing and Fark, their taglines become memes. As for unentertaining ads, even if the viewer doesn't have a PVR, he's going to find them a good time to hit the bathroom or make a sandwich.

  2. ch says:

    I was wondering the other day if adverts were/would be tested in fast-forward mode.

    If one could manage some control over the mpeg encoding, one could arrange for the I-frames to be maximally "useful."

  3. atakra says:

    I wonder what their research is for people who only listen to commercials? My television is always on, but I never just watch it because the computer faces the opposite direction.
    On the rare occaisions where I do actually catch the commercials, it suprises me that a sound I've associated with one thing will actually be for a completely different product.

  4. devpreed says:

    The funny thing I thought when I read this was "Huh... SonicBlue's Replay just skips over commercials, automatically; you don't even see them."

    That's one reason why I think the Tivo sucks compared to some of the other PVRs; the Replay has a setting where it'll just skip over commercial blocks entirely and it's surprisingly accurate. In about six months of watching the Replay, I've had to correct it... twice, maybe?

    Kinda poses the question why Tivo hasn't done this. Maybe it's in their newer modules, but I wonder if they're trying to appease both sides of the fence by making you at least fast-forward through commercials.

    • atakra says:

      The time blocks for commercials are pretty much set in stone for all the major networks. During the time I worked for CBS it got so good at knowing when commercials were going to begin and end that it became second nature to run and do something wlse for the exact amount of time for each commercial duration.
      There are a few exceptions amongst the syndicated shows, the worst of which was Entertainment Tonight; where if you were running the commercial breaks you actually had to be on your toes.

      Towards the end of my TV career I began to get anxiety attacks about the job since so much money was on the line every time a mistake was made.
      That's when I quit, no job is worth anxiety attacks.

    • robotnik says:

      Tivo has a "secret" button that basically does this. You have to press a sequence of buttons on the remote (a la a cheat code in a console game) and that activates a button that skips ahead 30 seconds on each press. But the cheat is not mentioned in any official Tivo documentation. So yes, I would say they're trying to keep both sides of the fence happy.

      • jwz says:

        I used the Tivo "30 second skip" hack for a couple months, but I decided that I liked the 3-speed fast-forward better. With 30 second skip, it was just too easy to overshoot the end of the last commerical -- so then you'd be 25 seconds into the show, and have to rewind for just as long as you would have had to fast-forward anyway, and you subjected yourself to even more "spoilers" on the way.

        So I'm inclined to think that the reason Tivo doesn't advertise the 30 second skip hack is that it's just not a good UI. It sounds like a good idea, but it was harder to use.

        • tfofurn says:

          TiVo did a really good job with the fast forwarding. The "where you would've clicked if your reactions were faster" resume after a fast forward is excellent. I also enjoy the eight-seconds back button, which I use all the time to catch missed lines.

          I bought a VCR in 1997 that had very good automatic commercial skipping. I don't remember any network folks throwing a hissy fit about that. Why they're so opposed to PVRs having it when it's not a new technology is a mystery to me.

  5. king_mob says:

    Fuck! Buy-bombs!

  6. avacon says:

    I'm not surprised with these findings.
    I'm actually discovering that I'm more likely
    to watch commercials that apply to me when fast forwarding
    with my TiVo. Without the TiVo I'll either channel-flip,
    mute, or wander away during commercials and miss all of them.
    With the TiVo, I see enough fragments that I will sometimes
    stop and watch interesting-looking commercials (eg, for upcoming
    movies that I've been waiting for trailers for) while fast-forwarding
    through the uninteresting items. This follows for others that I've talked
    to as well. I don't mind that the TiVo doesn't automatically skip
    commercials, as this way I have a leg to stand on in arguing
    against anyone who wants to take away my freedom to have a PVR.

  7. fo0bar says:

    I only fast-forward through commercials on my tivo when I'm actually WATCHING tv. Most of the time, I have a vague idea that the TV is on, and I'm subconsciously absorbing the programming, but I'm doing something else at the time. But I've subconsciously trained myself, when I hear the little chord signalling that the program is done, to find something else on tivo to start playing. Kinda like how I wake up whenever I hear "Montgomery station", after 2 years of sleeping on the BART ride to work.

    A bell is ringing. Mmmm, saliva...

  8. zonereyrie says:

    I like 30 second skip myself - and the 'secret' code is Select-Play-Select-3-0-Select while watching video - best in a recording so it doesn't change the station. Select-Play-Select-9-Select turns on a clock and elapsed time indicator in the lower right. There are others.

    I think SonicBlue may have a patent on the commercial skipping - it is on the GoVideo VCRs and the ReplayTV DVRs - both owned by SonicBlue. I don't mind the lack of commercial skip very much, TiVo's sheduling and priority system is better, and that was more important to me.

    As always, pick the tool that best fits your needs.