Advanced Television

PVRs: the Big shift

March 27, 2009

Data from BARB and SkyView has shown the impact of personal video recorders (PVRs) on the UK's 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 per cent watched the show on a time shifted basis. Of those that time shifted the show, 46 per cent watched it from their Sky+ planner and the remainder either watched the show online (on SkyPlayer) or 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 per cent and 35 per cent of their viewing time shifted respectively.

The three least time shifted genres are news, music, current affairs and sport – all of which viewers understandably prefer to watch live.

Charlie Ponsonby, CEO of digital TV and broadband comparison service says: "The data shows just how much the TV viewing experience is transformed in PVR households – people really are shaping the TV schedule around a timetable that suits them."

Approximately 25 per cent 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 0.5 million homes.

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